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Various Claims Against Mining Company Fail for Lack of Specificity
Description Appeals court upheld dismissal of a suit by an Indonesian citizen against an American company operating a mine in Indonesia. The claims of genocide, human rights violations, and environmental abuses were not backed by any evidence, only assertions, so could not stand.
Topic International Law
Key Words Alien Tort Statute; Torture Victim Protection Act; Law of Nations
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Beanal, an Indonesian citizen, sued Freeport, an American mining company, under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act. Freeport operates large mines in Indonesia. Beanal "alleged that Freeport engaged in environmental abuses, human rights violations, and cultural genocide." Because Beanal failed to provide evidence of these claims, the district court dismissed the suit but gave Beanal leave to amend the complaint. Beanal added more parties to the suit, but failed to provide further specifics to the claims. District court dismissed the suit; Beanal appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The Alien Tort Statute confers subject matter jurisdiction on a federal court when the following conditions are met: (1) the alien sues; (2) for tort; (3) that was committed in violation of the "law of nations" or a treaty of the U.S. The law of nations is defined by customary usage and clearly articulated principles of the international community. Beanal's claims fail because the complaint contains no names, dates, locations, times or other facts that would put Freeport on notice as to what conduct supported the claims.
Citation Beanal v. Freeport-McMoran, Inc., - F.3d - (1999 WL 1072274, 5th Cir.)

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