The Alien Tort Statute [ATS], alternately hailed as a "potent weapon for
human rights" and a threat to developing nations and American
corporate interests alike, was secured a second act by the Supreme Court's
2004 decision in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain. The Sosa decision
confirmed the ATS as actionable, but restricted its application to offenses
"comparable to the features of the eighteenth-century paradigms, offenses
against ambassadors, violations of safe conduct and piracy, that Congress
had in mind when it enacted the ATS." Whether aiding and abetting
liability is available under the ATS remains a live issue. This Note
analyzes Sosa's historical paradigm, examining whether aiding and
abetting liability was available for the archetypical violation of the law of
nations: piracy. It concludes that aiding and abetting liability for piracy
was available and common in English and American law from the
sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. The Note outlines the
theories of aiding and abetting piracy and applies those theories to
contemporary human rights problems.
"From Aiding Pirates to Aiding Human Rights Abusers: Translating the Eighteenth-Century Paradigm of the Law of Nations for the Alien Tort Statute,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol12/iss1/6