MNC Liability for International Human Rights Violations under the Alien Tort Claims Act.


This paper seeks to elucidate the fundamental sources of ATCA jurisprudence that have modernized the act into the weapon it has become for foreign human rights plaintiffs. It also attempts to describe some of the forms of liability asserted against MNCs, paying special attention to the competing forms of aiding & abetting liability as conceptualized in the Unocal case. Part II of this paper will provide a brief and concise review of the three cases every ATCA corporate defendant should know: Filartiga, Kadic and Sosa. These cases lay the groundwork for human rights litigation against MNCs under the ATCA’s modern epoch. Part III will address the state-action requirement, for both the ATCA and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA). It is the initial hurdle for every litigant and there are various methods for either overcoming it or simply avoiding it entirely depending on which tort-claim is asserted. Finally, Part IV will address the methods by which MNCs are held liable as aiders and abettors of foreign government tortfeasors.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Conflict of Laws | Human Rights Law | International Law

Date of this Version

December 2006