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United States: Lawsuit Allowed to Proceed Against Corporations for Aiding and Abetting Apartheid Regime in South Africa

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissing plaintiffs' claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act ("ATCA"). The plaintiffs had filed claims against a variety of international corporations under the ATCA, a 1789 statute which allows aliens to bring lawsuits alleging violations of the law of nations or of a treaty of the U.S. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had aided and abetted the apartheid regime of South Africa. The District Court dismissed the claims on the ground that aiding and abetting is not set forth in the ATCA as a cause of action. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the ATCA encompassed aiding and abetting claims, and remanded the case back to the District Court, allowing the litigation to proceed. (Khulumani v. Barclay National Bank, No. 05-2141-CV (2d Cir. October 12, 2007) available at