Hold on tight, because this one’s gonna really blow your buttplug out. Recently, being the massively cool and popular guy that I am, two separate lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada have caught my attention.
In February this year, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed a group of Eritrean citizens to continue to sue a Canadian mining company in BC for alleged human rights violations. Also in February, lawyers in Virginia launched a lawsuit against Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, an ex-CIA asset, and his two sons for allegedly torturing citizens in Benghazi. How’s your asshole feeling? Cause mine’s as loose as your grandma.
Nevsun Resources Ltd., in partnership with the Eritrean government, owns the Bisha mine in the west of the East African nation. Nothing morally sus about owning an African mine at all, by the way. Nevsun moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that Canadian courts can’t pass judgement on the actions of another state. A majority of SCC judges then promptly directed the company to fuck off, holding for the first time that internationally accepted human rights norms are adopted into Canadian common law.
General Haftar, on the other hand, commands the Libyan National Army, an opposition force challenging Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s UN backed Government of National Accord. If you’re unfamiliar with the global political implications of the current Libyan civil war, here’s a brief summary:
Anyway, the CIA continues its excellent track record with respect to its past friendships, which in this case has allowed two Libyan families to sue Haftar (or Hifter in America, for some reason) under the 1991 Torture Victim Protection act -- According to the New York Times, previous suits filed under this act failed to actually impose any consequences as torturers generally don’t give a shit what the US courts say. Just ask the US government.
That being said, Haftar was President Reagan’s pick to lead a coup out of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in the 80s. So, when shit hit the fan, our man with the war plan immigrated to his new life in Langley, where he and his sons racked up around $8 million in very seizable assets right up until the Arab Spring sprung his old nemesis. Now, allegedly, he tortures people.
At this point, you might be asking yourself why I’m making you read all this other than because of the fact that I get to use big words and make myself seem smart. The answer is that these two suits actually represent a big shift in how courts can handle human rights abuses. International law is notoriously as toothless as your grandma giving a blowjob but sovereign states can exercise a lot of power over assets under their jurisdiction.
While it would be nice if every country lived up to the western world’s hypocritical-ass human rights expectations, they are very hard to enforce, and we don’t even fucking live up to them. So maybe this is the way to lend legitimacy to punishment of some of the fucked shit that goes on everywhere in the world. Or maybe this is the reason Libya bombs the shit out of some US army base in a couple years. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.