The Clinic submitted an amicus curiae brief in April 2010 in support of a petition for certiorari in a major corporate ATS case, Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc. The Clinic had previously filed an amicus curiae brief in support of a petition for rehearing of the Second Circuit’s ruling in the case, which had established the standard for aiding and abetting under the ATS. The case brought claims against Talisman for its complicity in attacks and forcible displacement of civilians in Sudan.
In October 2010, the Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari.
Background on the case
The petition for certiorari sought review of a Second Circuit decision holding that purpose—rather than knowledge—was required to establish aiding and abetting liability for human rights violations under customary international law. The Clinic served as counsel of record on behalf of leading international law scholars and jurists, who argued that the appellate court’s decision would overturn decades of established international jurisprudence dating to the Nuremberg era. The scholars concluded that knowledge, rather than purpose, is the standard for complicity for egregious human rights violations under customary international law.
The sixteen amici include Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions; M. Cherif Bassiouni, the Vice Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc and Preparatory Committees on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee; John Dugard, a former Ad Hoc Judge on the International Court of Justice; and Richard Goldstone, the first Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Second Circuit Decision
Amicus Briefs on behalf of: