Antioch Law Journal


Neil J. Conway


In Filartiga v. Pefia-IralaI the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts over an action between foreign nationals for the wrongful death by torture of a seventeen year old boy in Paraguay. Reversing the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the Second Circuit held that deliberate torture committed by a foreign police official violates international law, and that an action may therefore be brought in district court under 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (The Alien Tort Statute).2 The Alien Tort Statute, rarely invoked since its enactment in 1789, reads: The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.'