On October 21, 2020, CJA filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in support of former child slaves from Mali, trafficked into forced labor in cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. Nestlé and Cargill, two U.S. chocolate companies, allegedly supported and maintained this system of child slavery.
For over 30 years, survivors of the most serious human rights abuses have used the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) to seek truth, justice, and accountability. Following the seminal decision in Filártiga v. Peña-Irela, the ATS has served an essential function by enabling federal courts to impose liability on those responsible for serious human rights abuses, providing redress to survivors, deterring future violations, and ensuring that the United States does not serve as a safe haven for human rights abusers.
At issue in this case is whether U.S. corporations can be sued under the ATS, following the Supreme Court’s rulings in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, and Jesner v. Arab Bank. The Court has also been invited to consider whether claims of aiding and abetting violations of international law can be brought under the ATS.
CJA and amicus Human Rights First argue that secondary liability under the ATS – such as aiding and abetting – is critical for ensuring that victims of the most serious rights abuses have a remedy in U.S. courts. As set out in our brief, the importance of aiding and abetting claims under the ATS is made clear through the history of cases successfully brought by CJA against notorious human rights abusers living in the United States, including Armando Fernández-Larios, a former member of a Chilean death squad, and Alvaro Rafael Saravia Merino, who coordinated the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador, who was canonized to sainthood in 2018.
CJA Amicus Briefs
CJA and HRF Amicus Brief in Support of Respondents