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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    5

    Default Who Can File a Claim Under the Torture Victims Protection Act

    Hi,

    I understand that the Torture Victims Protection Act allows torture victims to sue the officials of a foreign state in the courts of the United States, subject to a number of limitations.

    I was reading about the cases of a number of non-US individuals who had allegedly been tortured by foreign governments and were blocked from bringing civil suits in their home country under State Immunity laws.

    Can a person who is neither a US citizen or resident bring a civil suit under this act?

    James.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18,827

    Default Re: Torture Victims Protection Act

    Sampson brought his case in the UK. The law you cite is a US law. They're completely unrelated to each other. First off, it has nothing to do with whether you bring the action in your home country. The Sovereign Immunity Act says you can't bring action against foreign governments in British courts. Doesn't matter who the plaintiff is.

    The US has a similar law called FSIA. The TVPA doesn't open up that law. You can't sue foreign states. The TVPA allows you to sue INDIVIDUALS who are agents of certain governments. Again, it makes no difference if you're a citizen of the US or not.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Torture Victims Protection Act

    The issue I was getting at is whether it would be open to Sampson etc to have sued their alleged torturers via the United States courts rather than the UK, or whether they would be barred on the grounds of citizenship. I realise that by now they would probably be time-barred.

    After it is not uncommon for plaintiffs to "forum shop" for a friendly jurisdiction to launch their case e.g. the UK in the case of defamation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    18,827

    Default Re: Torture Victims Protection Act

    Citizenship is not strictly required, but you need to meet the jurisdiction of federal court. The Alien Tort Statute opens up federal jurisdiction for aliens to bring suits that are violations of US laws or treaties even if they don't take place in the US.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Torture Victims Protection Act

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    Citizenship is not strictly required, but you need to meet the jurisdiction of federal court. The Alien Tort Statute opens up federal jurisdiction for aliens to bring suits that are violations of US laws or treaties even if they don't take place in the US.
    I am not sure that is true:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_T...er_the_statute

    On April 17, 2013, the (US Supreme) Court issued its decision affirming the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and holding that the ATS did not create jurisdiction for a claim regarding conduct occurring in the territory of a foreign sovereign.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Torture Victims Protection Act

    The TVPA requires a plaintiff to show exhaustion of local remedies in the location of the crime, to the extent that such remedies are "adequate and available."

    This is mildly unrelated but interesting https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/11-88

    And I think the ATS is more for Aliens in the US

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