Wednesday, April 17, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Effectively Ends Krajina Serb Lawsuit Against MPRI

As I noted in my blog post of December 12, 2012, several "Krajina" Serbs had filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Chicago against the U.S. company, Military Professional Resources, Inc. ("MPRI"), alleging that MPRI was liable for billions of dollars in damages because MPRI allegedly provided assistance to the Croatian Army in Operation Storm. The "Krajina" Serb plaintiffs claimed that the Croatian Army, with the assistance of MPRI, committed genocide against the Krajina Serbs in Operation Storm in 1995.  The lawsuit was filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Claims Act, pursuant to which the attorneys for the "Krajina" Serb plaintiffs claimed that United States courts had jurisdiction to hear a case concerning events that occurred in a different country (Croatia).

Today, the United States Supreme Court in the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum essentially ended the "Krajina" Serb lawsuit by ruling that the Alien Tort Claims Act does not apply extraterritorially.  Therefore United States courts do not have jurisdiction to hear cases concerning "violations of the laws of nations occurring within the territory of a sovereign other than the United States."

Accordingly, today's decision by the United States Supreme Court in Kiobel will most likely result in the immediate dismissal of the lawsuit by the "Krajina" Serbs against MPRI, because United States courts do not have jurisdiction to hear lawsuits for events that occurred in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.  Instead, the "Krajina" Serbs will have to refile their lawsuit before the courts of the Republic of Croatia.

The full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kiobel can be found here: