Legal Translation for Alien Tort Statute (ATS) Cases

Legal Translators for Human Rights Litigation

Legal translation services for international human rights litigation play an important role in the practice of law. A dispute about whether a company can be held to account in a United States court for possible complicity in terrorism is, without question, a matter of the greatest importance in this day and age. That is what the United States Supreme Court case of Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC is all about. It is worthy of note that Jesner could never have been litigated without the assistance of expert legal translators ensuring that both sides were able to communicate their positions in that high-stakes dispute.

As a legal translation service, we at All Language Alliance, Inc. always strive to help in the fight for justice. And that certainly includes the search for human rights justice throughout the world. The way in which we do our part is to provide expert, reliable legal translation services to attorneys who need to litigate such matters here or abroad.

In that vein, we find it worthwhile to take a look at newsworthy international matters because they provide a perspective on the value-add inherent in legal translation services. Accordingly, in this blog we will discuss the international human rights case of Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC.

Of course, if you practice in the area of international human rights law, then you will want to have a reliable legal translation service at the ready. We welcome you to call us at All Language Alliance, Inc. Our number is 303-470-9555, and we can help you translate legal and technical documents for your international human rights cases.

Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC – Foreign Banks, Terrorism, and American Courts

Several years ago, victims of terrorist attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza between 1995 and 2005 filed a lawsuit in federal court in the United States. Their primary allegation was that Arab Bank, PLC, a foreign corporation with a New York branch, kept a bank account for known terrorists, accepted donations that the bank was aware would be used to fund terrorist acts, and even distributed millions of dollars to the families of suicide bombers.

The case raised a compelling issue: To what extent should a bank be held liable for the terrorist acts of its account holders? The question becomes all the more compelling when it is clear that the bank was aware that the money was used as part of a terrorist act.

The victims wanted to get into U.S. federal court, and they did so by relying on a statute from 1789 called the Alien Tort Statute, also known as Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). Though remaining virtually unused for 190 years, the Alien Tort Statute has recently become a platform through which litigants combating international terrorism have tried to get their cases heard in American federal courts.

The avenue of the Alien Tort Statute, however, proved unsuccessful for the victims in all of the courts below in this case, including the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The Supreme Court’s Jesner Holding

Avoiding the international human rights implications altogether, the Supreme Court agreed with the courts below, finding that the Alien Tort Statute would not be a way in which international terrorism victims could find redress in U.S. courts.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged that when Congress enacted the Alien Tort Statute over 200 years ago, it ventured to avoid foreign-relations issues by allowing federal courts to be available for certain international law violations. However, Justice Kennedy continued, allowing lawsuits to go forward in the United States is causing foreign-relations tensions with countries like Jordan, which is an ally in the highly sensitive Arab region.

Thus, the majority determined that allowing new grounds for federal lawsuits that may create foreign-policy problems is something that should be left to Congress or the executive branch to decide.

In dissent, Justice Sotomayor, decried the fact that the Court was allowing Arab Bank to escape accountability for complicity in human rights abuses. Said Justice Sotomayor, “corporations can be and often are a force for innovation and growth . . . But the unique power that corporations wield can be used both for good and for bad. Just as corporations can increase the capacity for production, so, too, some can increase the capacity for suffering.”

International Human Rights Law Could Not Exist Without Legal Translation Services

It is not an overstatement to say that international human rights law could not exist without the help of professional legal translators who can translate sophisticated, technical legal documents. Indeed, international human rights cases necessarily involve disputes between people of different countries, each with their own cultural norms, and oftentimes numerous dialects. Further, the kinds of issues involved in a human rights or terrorism case involve a level of compassion and empathy on the part of those trying to get before a tribunal.

Given all of those factors, attorneys who litigate human rights cases, particularly those that are intended to reach the United States Supreme Court, need the best legal translators available. We welcome you to contact us at All Language Alliance, Inc. for more information on how we can make sure you get the best legal translation services for your international human rights case. We will be able to provide an experienced translator for any language or dialect you need. Call our legal translation service today to obtain certified translations from Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian, Dinka, Sudanese Arabic, Spanish, French, Farsi, Portuguese, Korean,Thai, Dutch, other languages for ATCA litigation.

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