Homage to Filártiga

37 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2013 Last revised: 21 Jan 2015

See all articles by Perry S. Bechky

Perry S. Bechky

Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP; Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2014


The Supreme Court’s new decision in Kiobel severely restricted human rights litigation under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In doing so, the Court gravely injured the canonical human rights case of Filártiga. This essay celebrates Filártiga, demonstrating that it survives Kiobel in four key respects: its approach to the sources of international law, its conclusion that international law prohibits torture, its dynamic vision of the way the human rights revolution transformed international law, and its hope that courts can help make real a world without torture. The essay presents Filártiga as a living presence and a beacon for future development of the law. By explaining and celebrating Filártiga’s continuing vitality in this way, this essay also offers a Filártiga-based critique that exposes Kiobel’s limits and weaknesses, and contributes to a budding controversy about the meaning and effects of Kiobel and the future of human rights litigation after Kiobel.

Keywords: Filartiga, Kiobel, Alien Tort Statute (ATS), Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), human rights, torture, international law, litigation, courts

Suggested Citation

Bechky, Perry S., Homage to Filártiga (2014). 33 Review of Litigation 333, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2336305

Perry S. Bechky (Contact Author)

Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP ( email )

1101 Seventeenth Street, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-293-5555 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bcr.tv/attorney/perry-bechky

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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