San Diego International Law Journal


Zaha Hassan

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



With the recent trend towards holding corporations accountable for aiding and abetting human rights abuses abroad, this paper asks the question whether corporations should be held liable for knowingly facilitating human rights abuses abroad by selling equipment widely known to be used in such abuses. To this end, the case of Caterpillar sales to Israel will here be examined. Part II provides an overview of the history of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and its applicability in United States courts. Part III gives an overview of how corporate liability for human rights abuses abroad developed under the ATCA. Part IV examines the most significant case to date involving corporate liability for human rights abuses abroad, Doe I v. Unocal Corp. Part V analyzes the case that may be made against Caterpillar Corporation for its sales to Israel. Finally, Part VI concludes by discussing the policy reasons supporting the extension of corporate liability for sales of equipment to countries that violate internationally recognized human rights.