27 July 2020

BOOK: Natalie R DAVIDSON, American Transitional Justice - Writing Cold War History in Human Rights Litigation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). ISBN 9781108477703, 75.00 GBP

(Source: CUP)

Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book on Alien Tort Statute litigation (US) during the Cold War.


Natalie Davidson offers an alternative account of Alien Tort Statute litigation by revisiting the field's two seminal cases, Filártiga (filed 1979) and Marcos (filed 1986), lawsuits ostensibly concerned with torture in Paraguay and the Philippines, respectively. Combining legal analysis, archival research and ethnographic methods, this book reveals how these cases operated as transitional justice mechanisms, performing the transition of the United States and its allies out of the Cold War order. It shows that US courts produced a whitewashed history of US involvement in repression in the Western bloc, while in Paraguay and the Philippines the distance from US courts allowed for a more critical narration of the lawsuits and their underlying violence as symptomatic of structural injustice. By exposing the political meanings of these legal landmarks for three societies, Davidson sheds light on the blend of hegemonic and emancipatory implications of international human rights litigation in US courts.


Natalie R. DavidsonTel-Aviv University
Natalie Davidson is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University. She has published about Alien Tort Statute litigation, feminist interventions in international law, the prohibition of torture, and interdisciplinary methodology.


1. Introduction. Revisiting the Gilded Age of transnational human rights litigation in US courts
2. Alien tort statute litigation in legal practice and the legal imagination
3. 'Foreign torture, American justice': Filártiga in the United States
4. Filártiga in Paraguay
5. Narrating the Marcos regime in US courts
6. The Marcos case and transitional justice in the Philippines
7. Conclusion.

More info here

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