On October 2, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an important ruling [included] in Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc., in which it imposed a high pleading standard on plaintiffs, requiring that "the mens rea standard for aiding and abetting liability in Alien Tort Statute actions is purpose rather than knowledge alone."
This case involves allegations against a Canadian oil company concerning its purported assistance to the government in Sudan in the forced movement of civilians residing near oil facilities. In its decision, the court concluded: "plaintiffs have not established Talisman's purposeful complicity in human rights abuses." In reaching that conclusion, the Second Circuit stated that "the standard for imposing accessorial liability under the Alien Tort Statute must be drawn from international law; and that under international law a claimant must show that the defendant provided substantial assistance with the purpose of facilitating the alleged offenses."
The attached opinions, upon which the court relied, were provided by renowned international law publicists, Christopher Greenwood, Q.C. and James Crawford, S.C.