On Wednesday, October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a case about whether foreigners can bring lawsuits in the courts of the U.S. against those who have violated human rights under international law, if the alleged violator is a corporation.
Victims of terrorist attacks committed in Israel have brought a lawsuit against the Arab Bank, an institution based in Jordan. The plaintiffs say that the Arab Bank contributes to such terrorist strikes because it has been used to distribute millions of dollars to the families of suicide bombers, so-called martyrdom payments. Some of the Arab Bank’s activities do take place in the U.S.
The arguments indicated that the Court is divided, with some justices concerned about the diplomatic consequences of a ruling against Arab Bank.
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Lawyers for the Arab Bank argued that there is no specific, widely accepted, norm of international law that would hold corporations liable for terrorism financing.