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Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law


Jesner v. Arab Bank, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), corporate liability, human rights


This paper addresses complex legal issues in light of and in the context of Jesner v. Arab Bank, a case involving the scope of corporate liability for human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). Part I provides a brief overview of the Jesner case. Part II outlines the case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and its holding. Part III discusses Kiobel's shortcomings, including the vagueness of its "touch and concern" test and its failure to specify which law—international or domestic—applies to the issue of corporate liability under the ATCA. Part IV then proposes other remedies to address corporate misbehavior and complicity in the violation of human rights, including criminal liability and lawsuits against corporate officers. In sum, this paper concludes that the ATCA may not be the best vehicle to address corporate violations of human rights (although, in the author's humble opinion, the Supreme Court will most likely decide for the plaintiffs in the Jesner case, and in favor of corporate liability under the ATCA).