US Supreme Court favors trying former foreign government officials
|Wednesday, June 16,2010 18:29|
The decision made by the US Supreme Court in Washington rejected a claim of immunity from Somali's former Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Samantar who has been living in the US since.
Members of the Ishaq family from Somalia filed the original lawsuit under a 1991 U.S. law called the Torture Victim Protection Act accusing the former prime minister of commanding the country's military force to torture, kill, and arbitrarily detain clan members and their families. The victims claimed he oversaw torture and extrajudicial killings during his time in office.
The Supreme Court decided voting in favor of accountability rather than immunity stressing that any victims of torture, rape and murder, would now be able to hold former Somali official Samantar, who had served as vice president, defense minister and prime minister under the brutal regime of President Mohamed Said Barre liable for his appalling actions.
In response to these accusations Samantar denies being responsible for torture alleging his government was fighting a civil war against dissident groups.
The new ruling opens the door to victims of torture and violations of human rights especially in the Arab world. Now Arab citizens who were detained and tortured can resort to the federal courts of America to pursue officials holding them accountable for measures used in detention centers and prisons.
According to sources Arab officials believe that the U.S. administration may work on taking advantage of the law against Arab rulers, in an attempt to pressure them on internal and regional issues, by hinting the possibility of accepting cases brought against them in U.S. courts, and freezing their assets preventing them from entering the United States.