Samantar has been accused of personally ordering the torture, rape and killings of members of the minority Isaaq clan. The case was originally filed in 2004 and dismissed on the grounds that Samantar enjoyed legal immunity as a former foreign official. The US Supreme Court then ruled against the dismissal and the case proceeded to trial.
Samantarís lawyer will appeal the decision. Already, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals examines whether Samantar was properly denied immunity.
The plaintiffs are unlikely to receive the money since Samantar has declared himself bankrupt but they insist that the courtís decision will be vital for the development of Somalia. Since 1991, when the Barre regime was overthrown, Somalia has endured a state of clan-based and religious conflicts with no functioning central government.