District Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear Claims for Human Rights Violations in Syrian Civil War

The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2013 - Alien Tort Statute (ATS) | July.01.2013

Ahmed-Al-Khalifa v. Bashar Hafez Al-Assad, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115440 (N.D. Fla. July 1, 2013)

The district court for the Northern District of Florida concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over claims brought under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act. The defendants were the heads of states of several countries, the Pentagon, the United States Congress, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and several multinational corporations. Plaintiff, a resident of Nigeria, sought injunctive and compensatory relief for human rights violations in Syria. Citing Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013), the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims because they solely concerned acts and events that occurred outside the United States, in the territory of another sovereign state.

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