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Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

United States Supreme Court
569 U.S. 12 (2013)


The Nigerian military committed atrocities against Nigerian nationals in Nigeria, violating the law of nations. The atrocities included beating, raping, and killing victims. Kiobel and other victims of the atrocities (plaintiffs) subsequently moved to the United States as legal residents. The plaintiffs filed suit under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and other Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations (defendants). The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants aided and abetted the Nigerian military in committing the atrocities. [The district court dismissed some of the plaintiffs’ claims and certified an interlocutory appeal. The court of appeals dismissed the entire complaint.] The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

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