The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) provides that foreign states shall be immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts unless the suit falls within a specified statutory exception to immunity. There is currently a conflict among the federal circuit courts over whether suits against individual foreign officials are covered by the FSIA. If such suits are not covered by the FSIA, additional questions are raised concerning a possible common law immunity for foreign officials. This Insight describes both the conflict and the additional questions.
On June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled against the U.S. government in cases brought by foreign nationals challenging their detention at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba military facility. A five-justice majority in Boumediene v. Bush held that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) violated the U.S.
On March 25, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Medellin v. Texas, a case in which a Mexican national on death row in Texas challenged his conviction on the basis that he was not afforded his right of consular notification under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR). In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the 2004 decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Mexico v.
In its previous session, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Permanent Mission of India to the United States v.
As a party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), the United States has an obligation to ensure that a detained national of another party to the treaty is informed of the right to contact his or her consulate and request consular assistance. The notification requirement of Article 36 of the VCCR has been at the center of a series of U.S.
On March 5, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its opinion in Sinochem International Co. Ltd. v. Malaysia International Shipping Corporation, one of only a few Supreme Court decisions to deal squarely with the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The Court held that federal district courts need not establish jurisdiction prior to dismissing transnational litigation on the basis of forum non conveniens.
On February 26, 2007, the International Court of Justice issued its judgment in the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro). The case marked the first time that a country sued another country for breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ("the Convention").
On February 20, 2007, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an important decision in long-running litigation brought by detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba military facility. Disposing of a score of consolidated appeals involving 63 foreign nationals, the two-judge majority in Boumediene v.