Defining Filartiga: Characterizing International Torture Claims in United States Courts

01 Jan 1984

Filartiga v. Pena-Irala is the paradigm for studying private torture claims against foreign officials in the United States. As the paradigm, the Filartiga action must be succinctly defined. This will assist inquiries into its judicial jurisdiction and choice of law, and it will make Filartiga-type cases more understandable and therefore more acceptable to critics. This discussion is limited to the assertion of personal jurisdiction over a foreign official for a private torture claim brought in the United States. Although this analysis is focused narrowly on Filartiga, it is designed to enhance understanding of future torture claims as well.