ADL Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling Striking Appropriate Balance In Suits Against Foreign Government Officials

New York, NY, June 2, 2010 … Responding to a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not protect foreign officials from prosecution inU.S.courts, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued the following statement:

The Supreme Court has struck an appropriate balance in this decision. It correctly ruled that foreign officials who perpetrate atrocities like genocide and crimes against humanity can be sued in American courts. At the same time, the Court did not open the doors of U.S.courthouses too wide, leaving in place important legal precedents – solid, long-recognized defenses that foreign government officials and others can raise in response to bogus lawsuits motivated by politics.

In reaching this result, the Supreme Court closely followed the path ADL recommended in its brief.

ADL is gratified by the outcome, which will on rare occasions provide some measure of justice for victims of the world's worst offenders, while at the same time discourage inappropriate manipulation of the American judicial system.

The case, Samantar v. Bashe Abdi Yousuf, et al., was brought by a group of Somalis seeking retribution for the alleged torture they suffered at the hands of soldiers under the command of a former Somali government official. 

ADL's friend-of-the-court brief was authored by Proskauer Rose LLP.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.