Emeka Duruigbo


This Article looks at the scope and application of the local remedies rule in international law and the implications of its introduction in ATS litigation. As has been the case in the rule's introduction to human rights proceedings in other settings, its application in ATS litigation could mean additional work for the courts in fashioning the right way to interpret and apply the rule. For victims of human rights abuse who are seeking justice in the United States, it may not herald a lot of changes, although it could still make their quest a little more difficult. However, it could be a harbinger of broad public policy changes if properly utilized. These changes could redound to the benefit of the countries where human rights abuses constantly take place and may also lead to a more progressive development of the international law of human rights. Part I discusses the local remedies rule under general international law, while Part II undertakes a similar assignment with regard to international human rights law. In these two parts, the rationale and advantages of the rule are highlighted including the prevention of occasions for potential international irritation or interstate tension, promotion of peaceful co-existence of States, avoidance of counter-productivity, and facilitation of a higher or voluntary adherence to the relevant international instruments by States Parties. Part III focuses on the application of the local remedies rule in litigation under the TVPA. This part will also provide an applied speculation of the possible implications of an ATS exhaustion requirement for plaintiffs. Part IV examines the public policy implications of the introduction of the local remedies rule in ATS litigation. Generally speaking, attending to the dictates of the doctrine could provide a channel for vibrant political practices and judicial structures in human rights-abusing countries. It could also be fashioned into an avenue for strengthening international institutions and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights. Part V is the conclusion.