Martha Lovejoy


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.