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Historical Paradigms, Modern Violations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses both the violations that fall within the broad Alien Tort Statute (ATS) standard and the enumerated violations listed in several statutes: the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), the "state sponsors of terrorism" exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the anti-trafficking statute. It briefly introduces the framework governing ATS claims. The chapter describes the three historical claims referenced by the Supreme Court in Sosa. It discusses the four violations explicitly included in one or more of the human rights statutes-torture, extrajudicial execution, hostage-taking, and aircraft sabotage. The chapter addresses additional claims that satisfy the Sosa standard. Crimes against humanity are actionable under the ATS, satisfying the federal common law standard of a widely accepted, clearly defined violation of the law of nations. Finally, it also discusses claims that have been rejected by the courts to date.

Keywords: Alien Tort Statute (ATS) standard; extrajudicial execution; historical claims; human rights statutes; Sosa standard



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