Today-Supreme Court hears oral argument in Samantar v. Yousuf–Somalia and Somaliland Torture Case (Updated)

NPR’s story from before the argument this morning.

For a recap of the today’s argument and other details see SCOTUSWiki on Samantar v. Yousuf

This site includes links to the various briefs, including the Amicus Brief filed by Foreign Minister Duale for the Republic of Somaliland in favor of Yousuf (the victims), and other supporting amicus briefs from three Democratic Members of Congress, Senators Spector and Feingold and Representative Lee, and from a group of former US diplomats including Princeton Lyman. The US Government also supported affirming the Fourth Circuit’s ruling overturning the District Court’s dismissal of the case on sovereign immunity grounds.

The Summary of Argument from the Somaliland brief:

TORTURE, EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS AND THE ARBITRARY DETENTION OF SOMALI CITIZENS WERE ALL EXPRESSLY FORBIDDENBY THE CONSTITUTION THAT CREATED THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA. SUCH ACTS THEREFORE COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN PERPETRATED UNDER ANY LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENT OF SOMALIA OR ITS PUBLIC OFFICIALS. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY DOES NOT APPLY.

THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS HAS ENACTED STATUTES PROVIDING THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN-RIGHTS ABUSES A REMEDY WHEN THE PERPETRATORS OF THOSE ABUSES ARE FOUND WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THIS COUNTRY’S BORDERS. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE JUDICIAL PROCESS ENVISIONED BY THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS BE PERMITTED TO GO FORWARD SO THE EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN SOMALILAND AND THROUGHOUT THE REGION CAN BE REALIZED. MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE RULE OF LAW BE APPLIED TO THE PERPETRATORS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN-RIGHTS ABUSES WHEN THEY ARE FOUND WITHIN THE BORDERS OF THE UNITED STATES.

Amicus briefs supporting Samantar were filed by three former Republican Attorneys General, Meese, Barr and Thornburg, and by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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