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Plaintiffs, Defendants, And Violations In Alien Tort Statute (Ats) Suits

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Chapter Summary

Many of the issues determining who can sue and be sued in litigation under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) are similar to those raised by human rights lawsuits based on other statutory grounds. This chapter starts with a brief overview of the ATS rules for plaintiffs and defendants that points out issues unique to ATS claims. The ATS is the only grounds for human rights litigation that limits human rights plaintiffs to "aliens"-non-citizens of the United States. The chapter addresses a standard unique to the ATS-the limitation of jurisdiction to claims for "a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations". It analyzes what constitutes a tort in violation of the law of nations and the process by which the courts determine whether an alleged violation meets that standard. The chapter offers an introduction to the methodology necessary to prove that an international norm satisfies that ATS standard.

Keywords: Alien Tort Statute (ATS); human rights litigation; human rights plaintiffs; international norm



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