The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that it cannot consider law suits brought against the United States by foreign countries.
This comes as Nigeria has pressed human rights abuse charges against the oil firm Shell. The case was put forth by twelve Nigerians who say they have evidence that the firm cooperated in a brutal crackdown on demonstrators between 1992 and 1995.
BBC News reports that the plaintiffs in this case have accused the Shell company of complicity in murder and other crimes leveled on Nigerian citizenry by the Nigerian government.
UPI quotes the statement as asserting that, "Nigerian military and police forces attacked Ogoni villages, beating, raping, killing, and arresting residents and destroying or looting property," after Shell enlisted the government to do so to protect its prospecting interests in that region.
But the US Supreme Court is refusing to investigate on the grounds of the Alien Tort Statute. A law passed back in 1789.
Chief Justice Roberts explained that, "Nothing in the text of the statute suggests that Congress intended causes of actions recognized under it to have extraterritorial reach."
Hence the Supreme Court will only consider human rights violation cases put forth by courts within the United States, not ones regarding human rights abuses carried out abroad since the law wasn't intended to apply to cases that took place outside the boundaries of the United States.
The case is considered to be one of the biggest human rights in years. The corporations involved have been seen as the victors. This latest ruling by the Supreme Court serves as a vindication of that cynical contention.