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Dripa B

Alien torts: Trial trails | The Economist (07.10.10) - 0 views

    the second circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled on September 17th that corporations could not be held liable under the Alien Tort Claims Act for breaches of international law abroad...But the respite may be short-lived. Courts in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Britain, have recently become more active in punishing firms for misdeeds abroad and human-rights campaigners have taken note. John Ruggie, the special representative for the United Nations secretary-general on business and human rights, will wind up his six-year study with a report next year that could also lead to new restraints on corporations. [refers to Shell, Unocal (part of Chevron), Talisman, Dow Chemical]
Dripa B

US Department of Justice urges halt to apartheid suit | AP (15.02.09) - 0 views

    The Bush administration has asked the Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit that accuses more than 30 U.S. and European corporations of violating international law by assisting South Africa's former apartheid government.
Dripa B

Suing over apartheid (17.10.07) | News24 - 0 views

  • In tossing out the case in 2004, a US District Court judge John E Sprizzo noted that the US Congress had supported and encouraged business investment in South Africa as a way to achieve greater respect for human rights and a reduction in poverty.
  • The US government has said the litigation would cause "significant tension between the United States and South Africa". Citi is considering its legal alternatives in the case, said Donna Oosthuyse, the global banking giant's chief operating officer in South Africa. She said the company had contributed more than R25m since 1999 in programmes focused on education, literacy and community development for historically disadvantaged South Africans. She said the projects were not reparations, but part of a business model that Citi practices everywhere.
  • Denise van Huyssteen, a spokesperson for another of the companies in the suit, General Motors South Africa, said the company early on adopted the 1977 Sullivan Principles which encouraged more than 100 foreign companies to leave South Africa, a move that helped end apartheid. The company's website says that in 1987 "growing internal pressure in the US on GM to leave South Africa finally forced the company to pull out".
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  • Companies should be punished for their unethical behaviour, said Jody Kollapen, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission. "I think it is clear that the principle of holding both state and non-state actors accountable for human rights violations has become part of international law," he said. Lawrence Schlemmer of the Institute for Race Relations said he was "very cynical" about it. "How far back do we go in history?" he asked. Would there be an Aborigine reparations trial in the United States, and one because northern Indians of Persian extraction mistreated southern Indians? And what about the way the British treated the Irish?
  • He did not think the case would hurt South Africa's economy but said there was a "bigger risk" for the rest of the continent. "There are many governments which may yet blot their copy book ... and if one wants to get investment flowing into these countries people will say 'hang on. What if this chap does something alarming and there's a reparations trial and I as an American investor am held responsible?'" That's as it should be, said Stephen Gelb, director of the Edge Institute for economic research. He said: "I think if there are more cases like this then it will become a consideration, in effect a future contingency that they would have to take into account."
Dripa B

Thought Leader » Roy Jobson » Trading insults: Khulumani, Korman, Maduna, Mab... - 0 views

  • The dissenting judge (in three parts of the judgment), Judge Edward Korman, stated that “[the] lawsuit [is] an insult to the post-apartheid, black-majority government of a free people”. He goes on to say that a decision to hear these cases would “reflect[] the worst sort of ‘judicial imperialism’ … [and] send the message that the United States does not respect the ability of South African society to administer justice by implying that US courts are better placed to judge the pace and degree of South Africa’s national reconciliation”.
  • The Khulumani case, specifically, is neither about ongoing “political” processes nor about national reconciliation. It’s about damaged people seeking justice and redress that is, in fact, not available to them in their own country. The case is not about challenging the state’s sovereignty.
Dripa B

NY Lawsuit Complaint by Khulumani Support Group (11.11.02) - 0 views

    Lawsuit complaint which was instituted by the Khulumani Support Group, an organisation of survivors of apartheid violence, on November 11, 2002. The lawsuit seeks to hold 23 multinational corporations for their role in human rights abuses committed in apartheid South Africa.
Dripa B

Apartheid victims turn to US court (05.07.04) - 0 views

  • Hausfeld is suing 22 international banks and corporations that supported the pre-1994 political order in violation of international conventions for reparations.
  • Hausfeld's case was filed in November 2002 before the New York Southern District Court by the Washington-based firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld and Toll. It is based on the Alien Tort Claims Act, which grants US courts jurisdiction over certain violations of international law -- no matter where they occur.
  • The suit charges IBM and Fujitsu ICL with supplying technology for the white supremacist state to create passbooks for the black population that were used to control their movement, employment and residence.
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  • The 22 companies named in the suit include US giants IBM, General Motors, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Caltex Petroleum Corporation, Ford Motor Company and the Fluor Corporation.
  • Hausfeld charges financial institutions such as Citicorp with culpability for lending funds used to bolster a racist regime's security forces.
  • His court papers say that arms manufacturers such as Rheinmetall and oil companies such as Exxon violated internationally agreed embargoes by selling weapons and fuel to South Africa.
    US attorney Michael Hausfeld is representing about 32 000 South Africans affiliated to Jubilee 2000's apartheid debt and reparations campaign and the Khulumani Support Group.
Dripa B

It's state v apartheid victims: Apartheid victims' organisation will square off against... - 0 views

  • South African government’s decision to appear as a “friend of the court” on behalf of the corporations goes a step beyond the so-called “Maduna affidavit”, in which former justice minister Penuell Maduna argued that actions by organisations such as -Khulumani undermined state sovereignty
  • The Khulumani case, which will be heard on November 31, pits the NGO against car manufacturers, oil companies and banks, whom it accuses of profiting from apartheid and making finance available for the apartheid government to sustain its policies.
Dripa B

Victims claiming reparations from 23 foreign corporations charged with aiding and abett... - 0 views

  • "The story of economic development of this country [South Africa] is intimately bound up with foreign capital, technology and expertise," read the appellant's papers, quoting former South African finance minister Owen Horwood.
  • "We have obtained some of the top business leaders in South Africa to serve on the Defence Advisory Board in order to advise me from the inside, not only about the armaments industry, but also about the best methods to be applied within the Defence Force," Botha is quoted as having told Parliament's House of Assembly.
  • The lawsuit was based on common law principles of liability and on the Alien Tort Claims Act, which grants US courts jurisdiction over certain violations of international law, regardless of where they occur.
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  • adjudication would offend the sovereignty of the Republic of South Africa
Dripa B

Firms stay mum on apartheid lawsuit (02.11.07) - 0 views

  • Of the 22 companies approached by the Mail & Guardian, most refused to comment.
  • Minister of Justice Brigitte Mabandla has reiterated that the country will oppose the submissions made by the civil society groups.
Dripa B

Mbeki: Govt won't take part in US apartheid action (08.11.07) - 0 views

  • "The freedom and democracy that we attained in 1994, therefore, represents the most fitting and profound reparation for those of us fortunate to have survived the nightmare."Freedom and democracy, and the programmes of social reconstruction and development constitute the most comprehensive response to the crime of apartheid."
  • "However, for reasons that we have advanced, government has not in the past, and does not in future, intend to form part of such class actions," he said.
  • "In this regard, it is our view that actions that may in the short term benefit some individuals in our society, but have the long-term effect of generating investor uncertainty, would not be in the nation's interest.
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