[DEBATE] : (Fwd) SA reparations back in NY courts tomorrow
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Sep 24 12:24:01 BST 2008
(Why can't Mabandla and Dlamini-Zuma resign with the others, so the new
team in Pretoria can line up with its constituents - instead of with
Washington, London and Berlin on this?)
23 September 2008
Apartheid class action group in US court again
Legal Affairs Correspondent
THE Khulumani Support Group would hold pickets in three provinces on
Thursday to coincide with the reopening of its long-running lawsuit in
the New York District Court, the group’s media advocacy co-ordinator,
advocate Sipho Mantula, said yesterday.
The group filed a lawsuit in November 2002 in New York against 23
corporations and banks on the basis that they had aided and abetted the
apartheid government in gross human rights violations. The lawsuit was
filed on behalf of 87 people against multinational companies including
BP, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Rheinmetall, Shell and Total.
Judge John Sprizzo dismissed the suit in November 2004, saying that
forcing companies to pay reparations would hurt foreign investment in SA.
However, Khulumani lodged an appeal with the US Second Circuit Court of
Appeals. The court ruled last year that the Alien Tort Claims Act
provided jurisdiction for the case to be heard.
The corporations filed a motion in November last year to stay that
decision , pending their petition to the US Supreme Court. In May this
year, that court ruled that it lacked the necessary quorum of six
justices to issue an opinion.
In law, when the Supreme Court lacks a quorum, the lower court ruling is
affirmed. The case will return to the District Court on Thursday and,
according to Mantula, will set the trial date.
Mantula said the matter included four categories of gross human rights
violations, including disappearances, arbitrary and prolonged detentions
without trial, assault and injury, and extrajudicial killings.
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