SCOTUS to Consider Foreign Sovereign Immunity for Former Government Officials

by Julian Ku

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Samantar v. Yousef, a lawsuit by Somalis who alleged torture and mistreatment by a former Somali prime minister.  Here is the issue:

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 and 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.

This could be a pretty important case in the FSIA context, from both a development of the FSIA point of view and as a purely practical matter for Alien Tort Statute lawsuits.

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