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Abstract

Judge Kaufman held in a 1980 decision that a non-US citizen could file civil suits in the U.S. for human rights violations committed abroad by other aliens. Thus began the use of the federal law known as the Alien Tort Statute. This article takes a specific approach in analyzing this Act, looking at whether the unique structure and methodology of civil litigation in the U.S. are conducive to fairly and effectively promoting and enforcing international human rights. This work is divided into two parts. The first section analyzes why the structure and methodology of the American civil litigation system preclude the fair adjudication of transnational human rights cases. The second section examines why litigating transnational human rights cases in U.S. courts is ineffective in promoting and enforcing human rights abroad. The author then concludes that it is inappropriate to litigate transnational human rights cases in U.S. courts, because such litigation fails to fairly or effectively further international human rights interests.

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