Indonesia torture case vs ExxonMobil revived
NEW YORK, July 8 — A US appeals court today revived a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp by Indonesian villagers who accused the oil giant’s security forces of committing murder, torture and other wrongdoing.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals said companies are not immune from liability under a 1789 US law known as the Alien Tort Statute for “heinous conduct” allegedly committed by its agents in violation of the law of a nation.
The case had been brought by 15 villagers from Indonesia’s Aceh territory, who alleged that Exxon’s activity in the US and at a facility in Aceh led to their injuries.
Today’s ruling puts the DC Circuit at odds with the federal appeals court in New York, which in a landmark ruling last September said companies cannot be liable in US courts for violating international human rights law.
This split of opinion may make it more likely that the US Supreme Court may eventually resolve the issue. — Reuters