Wednesday, August 20, 2014

India's Former Prime Minister Immune In U.S. Courts As To Some Charges Of Participation In Killing of Sikhs

In Sikhs For Justice v. Singh,(D DC, Aug. 19, 2014), the D.C. federal district court dismissed on immunity grounds most, but not all of the claims against India's former Prime Minister for his role in the torture and killing of Indian Sikhs. The court summaried its decision:
Defendant Manmohan Singh was, until very recently, the Prime Minister of India. Plaintiffs ... have brought this suit alleging that the former Prime Minister tortured and killed Indian Sikhs during his time at the helm of that country’s government and, before then, as Finance Minister. The United States, a non-party in this litigation, has filed a Suggestion of Immunity claiming that Singh, as the sitting Prime Minister, is entitled to head-of-state immunity. Although at the time of that filing, Singh was indeed Prime Minister, he left office three weeks later. Plaintiffs, consequently, counter that Singh is no longer entitled to such immunity. They are only partly correct. Although he is no longer a head of state, Singh is entitled to residual immunity for acts taken in his official capacity as Prime Minister. Because such residual immunity does not cover actions Singh pursued before taking office, however, the allegations stemming from his time as Finance Minister survive.
Reuters reports on the decision and has more on the substantive allegations in the case.