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Time limitation under the United States Alien Tort Claims Act

30-09-2003 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 851, by J. Romesh Weeramantry


J. Romesh Weeramantry
is a barrister at the Victorian Bar, Australia, and a Ph.D. candidate at the School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. The author would like to thank Michael Mucchetti for his very useful comments. 

Victims of international law violations may bring civil actions for damages against the perpetrators under the United States Alien Tort Claims Act (hereafter ATCA). Lawsuits instituted pursuant to the ATCA may include claims based on violations of international humanitarian law but such claims are completely independent of prosecutions for war crimes or crimes against humanity that might arise from the same factual circumstances. Actions under the ATCA are not aimed at imposing penal sanctions but seek payment of monetary compensation by the defendant for the damage suffered by the victim.

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