khulumani-header-transparentkhulumani-color-logo-transparent

  • Written by  Legalbrief Today
  • Published in In the News
  • Read 2157 times

Lawyers "in shock" after apartheid ruling

Word is that lawyers for some leading international firms were in shock following a US court's ruling last week reversing a decision of a lower court which had dismissed the claims brought by 32 700 apartheid victims.

The lawyers, employed by the group of companies, which includes BP, ExxonMobil, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS, IBM and General Motors, apparently advised that the case did not stand a chance, notes a Business Day editorial.

It's worrying for the companies because of the $400bn that is involved. It is also a shock for the SA's Government and the US State Department, which both oppose the action. The plaintiffs include the Khulumani Support Group which brought the case under the Alien Tort Claims Act (Atca).

The court of first instance found aiding and abetting violations of customary international law cannot provide a basis for Atca jurisdiction. The three-judge Appeal Court found two to one that the trial court had applied the law incorrectly, and in fact there was a basis for the case to go forward. Consequently, the case goes back to the trial court to be heard on its merits rather than on jurisdictional grounds.

This is a big step forward for the plaintiffs, one of whose lawyers, Michael Hausfeld, described the ruling as "a breakthrough and watershed in terms of international human rights". But the crucial thing is that they still have to prove there was a causal link between selling goods and services to the apartheid government and the suffering of the plaintiffs.

Full Business Day editorial

@KhulumaniAfrica

Thu Jan 18 11:23:04 +0000 2018

Timol family appeals to NPA to act on inquest findings After waiting 46 years for the state to acknowledge that... https://t.co/OIi0UGzHWC
Sat Jan 13 06:30:56 +0000 2018

Some tributes to Poet Laureate, Keorapetswe Kgositsile by his biographer, Dr Uhuru Portia Phalafala, His... https://t.co/q7vLBHAvgl
Fri Jan 12 12:01:01 +0000 2018

12 January 2018 COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE OFFICE OFTHE CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER INVITATION TO APPLY FOR THE GOVERNMENT... https://t.co/Uq4JIfbUkC
Sat Jan 06 10:43:48 +0000 2018

Anyone who would like to access free telephone or face-to-face counselling, can call the national LIFELINE... https://t.co/egJa7gGl8E

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on Facebook