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Court Dismisses Sudan Human Rights Lawsuit

(CN) - The 2nd Circuit dismissed a lawsuit accusing a Canadian energy company of supporting human rights abuses in Sudan. In order to impose liability in U.S. courts, alleged victims must show that the Sudanese government "purposefully" aided and abetted a violation of international law, the court ruled.

The Presbyterian Church of Sudan and other plaintiffs from that nation sued the Sudanese government and Talisman Energy, a Canadian energy company.

They claimed that Talisman agreed to facilitate human rights abuses in exchange for oil deals. According to the plaintiffs, government forces burned down their churches and attacked them on foot, by the sea, through the air and on horseback.

However, Judge Jacobs of the New York-based federal appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs did not make a connection between Talisman and their alleged aiding and abetting of "genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity."

The plaintiffs claimed that Talisman helped the government by upgrading airstrips, designating areas for oil exploration, paying royalties and providing logistical support to the military.

"Plaintiffs have provided evidence that the government violated customary international law, but they provide no evidence that Talisman acted with the purpose to support the government's offenses," Jacobs wrote.

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