Access to U.S. Federal Courts as a Forum for Human Rights Disputes: Pluralism and the Alien Tort Claims Act
22 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006 Last revised: 1 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2005
Courts hearing cases under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) are asked to consider and evaluate the content of Customary International Law (CIL). These acts of incorporating non-U.S. sources of law can be framed as acts of legal pluralism. This article describes the contributions the ATCA has made toward increasing both civic and legal pluralism and argues that the robust history and tradition of instances of legal pluralism allow the introduction of CIL into the decision making process of U.S. courts without undue difficulty. It also posits that such inclusion has the desirable effect of increasing routes toward civic participation available to victims of human rights abuses.
Keywords: Customary International Law, Alien Tort Claims Act, Alien Tort Statute, legal pluralism, civic pluralism, human rights
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