Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Non-Self-Executing Treaty Does Not Support a Claim Under the Alien Tort Claims Act

From Veiga v. World Meteorological Org., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 4440 (2d Cir. Mar. 3, 2010):

Maria Do Rosario Veiga appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Marrero, J.) dismissing her claims for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Rosario Veiga brought suit against the World Meteorological Organisation (the "WMO") and several individual defendants after, she alleges, she was wrongly dismissed from her position at the WMO. She asserts that federal courts have jurisdiction over her claims, which include breach of contract, defamation, and violations of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) ("RICO"), by virtue of the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (the "ATS"). Rosario Veiga and the individual defendants are all residents of foreign nations; all but one are also foreign nationals. All relevant events occurred in Geneva, Switzerland. ***

Rosario Veiga ... claims that the application of immunity [under the International Organizational Immunities Act, 22 U.S.C. § 288a] would violate the ICCPR [the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 19, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171]. This argument fails because the United States ratified the treaty subject to the understanding it was not self-executing; and, we have concluded that this understanding means that the ICCPR does not create a private right of action. See Flores v. Southern Peru Copper Corp., 414 F.3d 233, 258 n.35 (2d Cir. 2003).

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