STATEMENT REGARDING SUPREME COURT’S RULING ON SAMANTAR v. YOUSUF
Pamela Merchant, Executive Director
Center for Justice and Accountability
We are thrilled with the Court’s decision today. The Court’s unanimous ruling today confirms that foreign government officials, who come and avail themselves of the benefits and privileges of living in the U.S., are not above the law.
Faced with a choice between accountability and immunity, the Supreme Court squarely came down in favor of accountability – holding that former government officials are not immune from lawsuits under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The ruling means that our clients and their families, who are victims of torture, rape and murder, will now be able hold Mr. Mohamed Ali Samantar, the man who is responsible for these horrific actions accountable.
Congress passed the Torture Victims Protection Act because they did not want torturers who have committed serious human rights crimes to seek safe haven in the United States. The Supreme Court’s decision means that the U.S. will not serve as a safe haven. The decision is a victory for our clients and for our entire Democracy.
About Center for Justice and Accountability
CJA is a San Francisco-based human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.