Court questions if former Somali official can be sued by victims of atrocities in US courtsBy AP
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Court questions suit against former Somali leader
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is questioning whether a former prime minister of Somalia can be sued in U.S. courts for allegedly overseeing killings and other atrocities.
Mohamed Ali Samantar was defense minister and prime minister of Somalia in the 1980s and early 1990s under dictator Siad Barre. But he now lives in Virginia, and some of his victims have sued him under the Torture Victim Protection Act.
Samantar claimed immunity as a former foreign government official. His victims say that immunity doesn’t count, because he is no longer a Somali official, and that foreign immunity is for countries, not people.
Justices, however, wondered how they are supposed to draw a line between suing a country, and suing the people who act on behalf of that country.
Tags: Africa, East Africa, North America, Somalia, sued, Suing, United States, Washington