African Private Security Companies and the Alien Tort Claims Act: Could Multinational Oil and Mining Companies be Liable?

Heil, Jennifer L. | January 1, 2002

This paper focuses specifically on the possible liability under the ATCA of multinational oil and mining companies operating in Africa. First, it will examine the relationships between the multinational oil and mining companies, private security forces and African governments. In doing so, it will describe the actual activities and operations of the private security forces in conjunction with the oil and mining corhpanies. Second, this paper will outline the elements of liability under the ATCA. This will include a discussion of recent cases in which foreign nationals have sued multinational companies in the United States for alleged human rights abuses committed abroad. Finally, this paper will explore whether the oil and mining companies could be liable for the actions of the private security forces in certain situations under the United States ATCA. It will also outline recommendations for the oil and mining companies on how to conduct their relationships with the private security forces so that their likelihood of liability might be reduced.