NFTC, USA*Engage Welcome Supreme Courtís Decision in Major Alien Tort Statute Case

Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum case. NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch released the following statement.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum case, which holds that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) does not apply to conduct occurring outside the borders of the United States.

“While the Court was silent on the issue of corporate liability, the decision rules out claims in U.S. federal courts against multinational companies for aiding and abetting human rights abuses by governments of countries in which they have operations.

“The Court also provided much-needed clarity on the issue of extraterritoriality, concluding that ‘nothing in the text of the statute suggests that Congress intended causes of action recognized under it to have extraterritorial reach’ and ‘there is no indication that the ATS was passed to make the United States a uniquely hospitable forum for the enforcement of international norms.’

“The Court’s decision is a win for companies’ ability to conduct business globally and critical to other pending ATS cases.”

In October and February 2012, the NFTC filed two amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in support of the defendant in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.

To read the Court’s decision, click here.