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Filartiga V. Pena-Irala: The Birth Of Transnational Litigation

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Chapter Summary

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure provides that “civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.” While this is legally accurate, the search for justice begins well before the parties reach the courthouse door. Arguing on behalf of Peña-Irala, Murry Brochin addressed the policy implications of allowing human rights violations to be litigated in U.S. courts. He expressed concern that Alien Tort Statute (ATS) cases could be used as propaganda by individual litigants involved in private disputes. On rebuttal, Peter Weiss argued that recognizing jurisdiction in the case would not federalize international law. In fact, international law is already an integral part of the law of the United States. The United States then challenged the district court’s assertion that violations of international law do not occur when the aggrieved parties are nationals of the acting state.

Keywords: alien tort statute (ATS); Birth; Filartiga V. Pena-Irala; international law; transnational litigation



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