International Law Outline

Part of Judiciary Act of 1789

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Part of Judiciary Act of 1789

  1. Federal district courts have original jurisdiction of civil actions by alien for tort, committed in violation of “law of nations” or US treaty.

  • Filartiga v. Pena-Irala – 2d. Cir – 1980 (328-30)

    1. F kidnapped and tortured to death by P, Inspector General of police in Paraguay. P entered US on visitor’s visa – was served, using ATS as basis of jurisdiction.

      1. District Court – dismissed, saying “law of nations” does not govern state’s treatment of its own citizens.

    2. CUSTOMARY LAW– right to be free from torture

      1. UN Charter, UDHR, GA Declaration on Protection of All Persons from Torture

      2. Universal renunciation in usage and practice of nations

    3. Doesn’t define “torture”, doesn’t evaluate state practice in way we discussed


      1. Jurisdiction of US court accepted at request of two individuals, not gov’t

      2. Jurisdiction over non-US national for wrong occurring in third country

      3. Two nationals of same country involved, with no transnational element involved

      4. Court applies CUSTOM w/o treaty or other US law connection

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