Strategic litigation broke the back of the British slave trade. In 1772, James Somerset, an escaped slave brought to England by his owner, Charles Stewart, sued for his freedom. In the case Somerset vs Stewart, the Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, ruled that no slave could be forcibly returned to a colony for sale.
Somerset was the first salvo in a series of anti-slavery civil cases brought in British courts. Those cases helped end the transatlantic trade in slaves. Nearly 250 years later, activists are again turning to strategic litigation to fight the modern day slave trade.
The dirty secret of today's human trafficking is that almost no one is held accountable.… Seguir leyendo »
Watching Dominique Strauss-Kahn plummet from managing director of the International Monetary Fund to criminal defendant, one could be forgiven for believing that diplomats do not get away with crimes committed in the United States. But one would be wrong.
Strauss-Kahn had functional immunity as head of the IMF, so only acts that fell within his official duties were covered. But if Strauss-Kahn had been a diplomat, even a low-ranking attaché, this story might have been quite different.
Envoys posted to the United States, like their American counterparts posted abroad, enjoy full diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. But in almost all cases, this immunity translates into impunity when those diplomats commit crimes.… Seguir leyendo »