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.
Aaron X. Fellmeth,
Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.: A New Standard for the Enforcement of International Law in U.S. Courts?,
Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol5/iss1/7