In the recent Samantar decision, the Supreme Court held that individual foreign officials were not covered by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act but might still be covered by common law immunity. This article analyzes the extent of that common law immunity and discusses whether more recent developments in domestic and international human rights law should impact the availability of immunity for officials accused of torture, extra-judicial killings, and other violations of the law of nations.
Although the bulk of authority from US and foreign courts suggests that foreign officials should enjoy immunity for acts committed within the scope of their authority, a strong argument can be made that most nations are no longer willing to consider international crimes to be valid state acts. The article suggests that the district court consider this trend when considering whether Mohamed Ali Samantar should enjoy immunity for authorizing, planning, and overseeing human rights abuses against Somali citizens.
- foreign sovereign immunities act,
- foreign immunity,
- official immunity,
- extrajudicial killing,
- jurisdictional immunity,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/chris_morley/1/