Skip to comments.US Supreme Court Dismisses Torture Case Against the Palestinian Authority on Technicality
Posted on 04/19/2012 11:36:26 AM PDT by ilcenter
Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center has received notice that the US Supreme Court decided to dismiss a lawsuit brought on behalf of the family of a Palestinian-American murdered at the hands of Palestinian intelligence officers in Jericho in 1995. The Court ruled that the Torture Victim Protection Act, as it is currently drafted, did not allow the family to sue the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization. The Justices held that the use of the term individual in the laws wording denoted that only private individuals, rather than corporations or organizations, could be targeted.
We were sorry to hear this decision, remarked Shurat HaDins director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. This serves to remind us of the statutes problematic nature and wording. It was crafted to target individuals, which is a challenge by itself, but does not allow suits against dictatorial regimes and terrorist groups, all of whom are responsible for the individuals act. During all court hearings there was no denying that the father was tortured and murdered by the Palestinian Authority. The struggle will continue until justice is reached, even if this path failed on a technicality.
The US Supreme Court only chooses to hear about 20 cases each year. A dozen human rights advocates joined Shurat HaDins appeal, including the UN Human Rights Commission, Senator Arlene Specter (who had originally sponsored the law), Stanfords Supreme Court Clinic, The Center for Law & Accountability and others.
Attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Robert Tolchin stand outside the Supreme Court with Azzam Rahim's sons last month (Photo: Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center)
The Rahim family originally filed the lawsuit, alleging that the Palestinian Authority should pay compensation for the torture and murder of Azzam Rahim, an American businessman who had traveled to the West Bank. This claim was further substantiated by a US State Department report noting that three Palestinian security officers took part in the crime.
The victim was born in a Palestinian village near Ramallah. He immigrated to Texas and received American citizenship. He, however, continued to maintain business links with the Palestinian territories, returning after the Oslo Accords were signed.
On one visit to the West Bank, the father was seized by the Palestinian intelligence service and taken to a Jericho police station. Although family members asked for his release, the police responded that only at the completion of the investigation would it be possible. A number of days later the fathers body was delivered to the family. Palestinian police called and warned them to conduct a quiet burial. Azzams sons, as American citizens, turned to the American consul in Jerusalem, who then demanded an autopsy of the body at an Israeli forensics center. It was revealed that the father had been severely tortured and murdered during his detention.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family against the Palestinian Authority and the PLO in the Washington, DC federal court. The complaint demanded that the family be paid compensation for the fathers murder. This lawsuit brought under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which allows American citizens to sue those who are responsible for their torture and death, accuses the Palestinian Authority and the PLO of being liable for Azzams murder. Numerous US courts had interpreted the statue to permit lawsuits for torture against corporations, associations, and organizations. The US Supreme Court, however, has now ruled that the Torture Victims Protection Act can only be brought against private individuals, making its utilization extremely challenging.
The family was represented by New York attorneys Robert Tolchin and Nathan Tarnor, as well as Tel-Aviv attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. The case was argued for the family by the Stanford University Law Schools Supreme Court Clinic. Since there is no denying that Azzam Rahim was tortured to death by the Palestinian Authority, the United States Congress and the US State Department should assist this Texas family in their struggle to be compensated by those who are liable, stated Darshan-Leitner, who heads Shurat HaDin.
Shurat HaDinIsrael Law Center is a civil rights organization and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world. Fighting for the rights of hundreds of terror victims, Shurat HaDin seeks to bankrupt the terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt one lawsuit at a time.
For more information please see our website.
LOL, the Israeli's put SCOTUS in a no-win situation. If they acknowledged the corporate aspect of the individual, they would have exposed The Great Fraud against The People. The term "individual" also include a "natural person" (the term the Court used) acting in their "corporate capacity" (a mythological status whereby a human being is presumed to have granted the State the power of their creation, and acknowledges that said State is therefore their owner). Of course, the corporate individual is, in fact, a fundamental lie. But it behooves the State to presume it when they want.
Or, as in this case, not presume it - thus allowing the SCOTUS to throw up its hands and say, wait a minute, only real human beings, natural persons, can commit terrorism - not the legal fiction of a corporation. We're shocked, shocked I say, that anyone would believe that a mere piece of paper can be charged with anything."
Of course, if you try to actually apply this law to an actual human being NOT "in their corporate capacity" - i.e. a "natural person," why then, it doesn't apply either, because it's a statute, and statutes apply only to people in their corporate capacity.
So who DOES it apply to? Easy - anyone they want it to. They just assume that person acted "in their corporate capacity."
The Court ruled that the Torture Victim Protection Act, as it is currently drafted, did not allow the family to sue the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization. The Justices held that the use of the term "individual" in the law's wording denoted that only private individuals, rather than corporations or organizations, could be targeted.
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