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US: USSC Hears Immunity Arguments in the Torture Case against a Ex-Somali PM

2010-03-05, Washington, D.C., USA. U.S.S.C. heard oral arguments today in Samantar v. Yousuf et al., a civil case brought by 5 plaintiffs against Mohamed Ali Samantar, a former Prime Minister of Somalia, now a resident of Virginia, United States. The case was initiated by the Center for Justice and Accountability.The defendant’s reliance on the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act was accepted by the trial court, but was rejected by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs rely on The Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. The plaintiffs are represented by Patricia Millet of Akin Gump. The defendant is represented by Shay Dvoretzky of Jones Day. The two issues before the USSC are:

1. Whether a foreign state’s immunity from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1604, extends to an individual acting in his official capacity on behalf of a foreign state.

2. Whether an individual who is no longer an official of a foreign state at the time suit is filed retains immunity for acts taken in the individual’s former capacity as an official acting on behalf of a foreign state.

USSC | Transcript | WSJ | Inside Somalia | UPI |

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