Two Suits Against Corporations for Violations of International Law Proceed in U.S. Federal Court

Eleven Falun Gong practitioners have filed suit against computer networking company Cisco Systems for allegedly facilitating human rights abuses by the Chinese government against Falun Gong members,  by developing and providing Internet surveillance technology known as Golden Shield or Policenet. [Wall Street Pit]   The suit, filed by the Human Rights Law Foundation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last Thursday, alleges that as a result of the Chinese government’s ability to monitor Falun Gong members’ Internet activity, individuals were arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed. [CNET]  A cisco representative has publicly denied the allegations and said that Cisco does not operate any network. [NYT]

Similarly, twenty-two plaintiffs have prevailed in a challenge to the District Court for the Northern District of California’s personal jurisdiction over Daimler AG in a suit against the company  alleging its civil liability, through its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz, for international crimes committed by Argentine officials during that country’s Dirty War. [SFAppeal]  The plaintiffs based the company’s liability on its Argentine employees’ participation or acquiescence in the detention, kidnapping, torture and killings of workers at a Mercedes plant near Buenos Aires.  The plant officials allegedly permitted Argentine military and police agents to be stationed there and identified workers who sympathized with the opposition.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s holding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Daimler AG.


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