- US Supreme Court; Source: Flickr (dbking)
Twelve Nigerian plaintiffs now living under asylum in the United States claim that the oil company has helped the Nigerian government under military ruler Sani Abacha, arrest and torture political activists. They also want to hold the corporation responsible for its alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.
The US Supreme Court is expected to review the Alien Tort Statue (ATS) which permits non-citizens to file suits in US courts for violations of international law. The judges will decide whether multinational corporations can be held liable under the ATS.
The case may have implications for other pending cases such as Exxon Mobile’s alleged complicity in the murder and torture of Indonesian people. The Obama administration has advised the Supreme Court not to adopt a categorical rule allowing lawsuits over extraterritorial conduct.