Law

Federal Judges Show Sympathy for Torture Victims

Courts can't quite quit taking cases with little connection to the U.S.

War in Somalia has been brutal.

Photographer: Jose Cendon/AFP/Getty Images

International human-rights litigation in the U.S. is still alive, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s best efforts to kill it. The latest evidence is a decision this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to allow part of a lawsuit alleging human-rights violations in Somalia in the 1980s to go forward. The case is thoroughly fascinating, on both the facts and the law. It sheds light not only on the state of human-rights law in the U.S., but also on the U.S. government’s murky record of enabling violations by its military allies.

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