Our human rights / anti-terrorism lawyers secure justice for people around the globe who were denied their inherent and most basic rights. Kohn, Swift & Graf pioneered the development of American and world jurisprudence requiring violators of human rights to compensate their victims. The firm also helped win the first liability verdict ever achieved at trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Human Rights Lawsuits

In 1986, Kohn, Swift & Graf filed the first human rights class action in United States and world history. The lawsuit against Ferdinand Marcos alleged the torture, summary execution, and engineered disappearance of almost 10,000 Filipinos under Marcos’s command. The case resulted in a $2 billion judgment affirmed on appeal, providing compensation for torture victims and the families of executed and disappeared citizens.

The jurisprudence that grew out of the Marcos case gave rise to class action lawsuits the firm brought on behalf of Holocaust victims. The cases resulted in the liability of Swiss, German, and Austrian companies for complicity in financial abuses against the victims— and in Holocaust case settlements totaling $7.5 billion. The firm was a principal negotiator in those settlements.

Additional Kohn, Swift & Graf human rights lawsuits include actions against:

•  69 Japanese corporations on behalf of more than 1,000 Korean forced laborers from World War II

•  human rights abusers in Cuba and Ecuador

Anti-Terrorism Lawsuits

The firm’s human rights / anti-terrorism lawyers advance the fight against terrorism by holding those who finance terrorism activities legally responsible and obtaining compensation for their victims. Kohn, Swift & Graf is at the forefront of litigation seeking damages for terrorism victims. The firm served as co-counsel for plaintiffs in the first contested Anti-Terrorism Act case to result in a liability verdict for victims of terrorism.

Linde v. Arab Bank sought damages for terrorism attack victims and their families based upon Arab Bank’s channeling of financial support to:

•  Hamas and its affiliates

•  families of suicide bombers

Since Linde, the firm has filed additional Anti-Terrorism Act lawsuits against banks that acted as conduits for funds transferred to Hamas fronts.

Kohn, Swift & Graf also brought an Anti-Terrorism Act action against Chiquita on behalf of New Tribes Mission and the families of five kidnapped and murdered missionaries. The suit is based in part on Chiquita’s admission in criminal proceedings that it was paying the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and another terrorist organization during the time period FARC is alleged to have kidnapped and eventually killed the missionaries.

Human Rights and Anti-Terrorism Law

Statutory laws frequently relied upon by human rights / anti-terrorism lawyers include the Alien Tort Claims Act, Torture Victim Protection Act, and Anti-Terrorism Act:

• Alien Tort Claims Act

 The Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), also known as the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), provides a remedy in United States federal district courts to citizens of foreign ountries whose human rights were violated when they were outside the U.S. Examples of human rights violations found actionable under the ATCA include torture, summary executions, and forced disappearances such as those litigated in the Marcos human rights litigation.

•  Torture Victim Protection Act

The Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) extends the remedies available under the ATCA to U.S. citizens who were tortured while in another country. The TVPA allows the institution of civil actions in U.S. federal district courts against human rights violators who committed violations under a foreign nation’s actual or apparent authority. The Act holds perpetrators or aiders and abettors of torture or extrajudicial killing liable in damages to the victims of torture or their survivors.

• Anti-Terrorism Act

 The Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) allows victims of international terrorism or their survivors to sue for compensation in United States federal district courts. The Act provides for the liability of any entity or person who:

• commits an act of international terrorism

• aids and abets an act or acts of international terrorism by knowingly providing substantial assistance

• conspires with a person who commits an act of international terrorism

• provides material support or resources to terrorists