philipliste

transdisciplinary scholarship on global politics and law

The Politics of Space: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Read my contribution to the “Verfassungsblog

Law is a ‘politics of space.’ The last week’s Supreme Court decision in ‘Kiobel’ significantly cuts the possibilities to sue human rights violators before courts in the United States, particularly when the relevant conduct occurred on the territory of a foreign sovereign. The decision builds upon a highly territorialized notion of law and points to what may be called a ‘nationalization’ of international law—with repercussions for the transnational law of public and private global governance. In the Kiobel case transnational oil corporations (Royal Dutch Petroleum/Shell) were accused of having aided and abetted in massive violations of human rights in Nigeria, including extrajudicial killings, crimes against humanities, and torture. The lawsuit was relying on the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) — a Judiciary Act enacted by the First Congress of the United States in 1789 — which is granting ‘aliens’ access to courts in the US for bringing tort claims basing on international law. (…) [read more at Verfassungsblog]

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