V Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. Legal Brief

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Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. Legal Brief
Case Identity: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 569 U.S.
Facts: Plaintiffs are residents of Nigeria, who claim that Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations engaged in aggressive oil exploration and production, aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing violations of the law of nations related to crimes against humanity and human rights abuses. Royal Dutch and Shell are parent companies incorporated in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom respectively; Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is incorporated in Nigeria. Since 1958, SPCD has conducted oil exploration and production in the Ogoni region of Nigeria. Protesting SPDC’s activities in the region, Ogoni
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In this case the primary plaintiff, Esther Kiobel sued in a federal court in New York the accused, alleging they helped and encouraged the Nigerian government to execute his husband Doctor Barinem Kiobel, an environmentalist, in an effort to suppress protests against its operations in Nigeria summarily.
Discussion/Legal Reasoning: "The Alien Torts Act (ATS) gives federal district courts jurisdiction over claims by an alien for wrongdoings only, committed in violation of International Customary Law or a treaty of the United States." (28 U.S.C. § 1350).
Back in 2004, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the ATS in Sosa vs. Alvarez-Machain, a case regarding the forced disappearance of a Mexican citizen in Mexico, perpetrated by a former Mexican official. The Court ruled that the ATS applied to a narrow set of internationally recognized violations that are universally condemned, and that would render the accused a “hostis humani generis, or enemy of all mankind”, no matter where they take place including slavery, genocide, and war crimes, and that it is a jurisdictional statute only; it does not create cause of action. Justice Souter explained, that the drafters of the Statute assumed that the common law would provide a cause of action for the limited number of international law infractions with a potential for personal liability at the time."(CaseLaw 2012). “Indeed, at the time of its inception, the ATS "allow federal courts to hear
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