The Alien Tort Statute: In Pursuit of Corporate Accountability

On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program and American Constitution Society co-sponsored a talk titled “The Alien Tort Statute: In Pursuit of Corporate Accountability.”

Paul Hoffman, counsel for petitioners in Kiobel, joined Marco Simons, legal director of Earth Rights International and Harvard Law School Clinical Professors Susan H. Farbstein and Tyler Giannini for the April 17 discussion, moderated by Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman, which focused on litigation strategies for holding corporations accountable for human rights violations. All of the panelists have litigated in corporate Alien Tort Statue suits.

Hoffman, who joined the discussion via Skype, addressed the question of whether the 2010 Kiobel decision, which held that corporations could not be held liable for violations of customary international law, would wipe out future ATS cases. Feldman followed Hoffman’s presentation by asking the panelists whether human rights litigators had gone too far by pushing for corporate liability in Kiobel.

Mevlude Akay LL.M. ’15 reported on the event for the Harvard Law School Human Rights Journal.  Read the full report here.