U.S. courts have traditionally been reluctant to exercise jurisdiction over

human rights violations committed abroad against foreign persons, often

invoking forum non conveniens to dismiss cases. The Second Circuit's

ruling in Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Company altered the

balance of forum non conveniens, making it easier to bring claims based

on a foreign human rights violation despite the availability of an

alternative forum. The court's reasoning emphasized the interest of the

United States in vindicating human rights abroad and would hold

wealthy parties to a greater standard of inconvenience than poorer parties.

The decision may mark a turning point away from judicial indifference

and hostility to international human rights law.