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The Prosecutors and the Peoples of the Asia-Pacific Region v. Hirohito et al.

Judgement, 4 Dec 2001, The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal for the Trial of Japan's Military Sexual Slavery, Japan


John Doe v. Exxon Mobil

Memorandum, 14 Oct 2005, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, United States

Several villagers from Aceh, Indonesia, filed a civil suit against oil and gas company Exxon Mobil. They argued that the company carried responsibility for human rights violations committed by Indonesian security forces by hiring these forces and because Exxon Mobil knew or should have known that human rights violations were being committed. The Court allowed the case to proceed in part. The plaintiffs had attempted to bring the suit under federal statutes which allow aliens to sue for violations of human rights. The Court dismissed these claims for several reasons, including that these claims could not be assessed without passing judgment on another country, Indonesia, which the Court refused to do. Also, claims were dismissed because they had not been pled adequately.

Claims based on state laws were allowed to proceed, although claims against a corporation in which Indonesia owned a majority interests were dismissed because ruling on this company would mean passing judgment on Indonesia. The Court also cautioned the parties to be careful not to intrude into Indonesian sovereignty during further proceedings.  


Hwang Geum Joo v. Japan

Memorandum Opinion, 4 Oct 2001, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, United States

Between 1931 and 1945, some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slaverty by the Japenese Army. These women, referred to as “comfort women” were recruited through forcible abductions, deception and coercion. Once captured, they were taken by the Japanese military to “comfort stations”, that is, facilities seized or built by the military near the front lines for express purpose of housing these women. Once there, the women would be repeatedly raped, tortured, beaten, mutilated and sometimes murdered. They were denied proper medical attention, shelter and nutrition.

The present lawsuit was brought by fifteen former “comfort women” against Japan on the basis of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the action on the grounds that Japan enjoyed immunity from proceedings as a sovereign State and the action did not fall within any of the exceptions to immunity enumerated in the FSIA.


Hwang Geum Joo v. Japan

Opinion of the Court, 27 Jun 2003, United States Court of Appeal, District of Columbia, Unites States of America, United States

Between 1931 and 1945, some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slaverty by the Japenese Army. These women, referred to as “comfort women” were recruited through forcible abductions, deception and coercion. Once captured, they were taken by the Japanese military to “comfort stations”, that is, facilities seized or built by the military near the front lines for express purpose of housing these women. Once there, the women would be repeatedly raped, tortured, beaten, mutilated and sometimes murdered. They were denied proper medical attention, shelter and nutrition.

The present lawsuit was brought by fifteen former “comfort women” against Japan on the basis of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the action on the grounds that Japan enjoyed immunity from proceedings as a sovereign State and the action did not fall within any of the exceptions to immunity enumerated in the FSIA. On appeal, the present decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the decision of the District Court. 


Hwang Geum Joo v. Japan

Opinion of the Court, 28 Jun 2005, United States Court of Appeal, District of Columbia, Unites States of America, United States

Between 1931 and 1945, some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slaverty by the Japenese Army. These women, referred to as “comfort women” were recruited through forcible abductions, deception and coercion. Once captured, they were taken by the Japanese military to “comfort stations”, that is, facilities seized or built by the military near the front lines for express purpose of housing these women. Once there, the women would be repeatedly raped, tortured, beaten, mutilated and sometimes murdered. They were denied proper medical attention, shelter and nutrition.

The present lawsuit was brought by fifteen former “comfort women” against Japan. Having been unsuccessful before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case. By its decision of 28 June 2005, the Court of Appeals once again dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the Appellant’s claims were non-justiciable under the political question doctrine as they would require the Courts to interpret treaties concluded between foreign States. 


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