A nation can settle the claims of its citizens against a foreign government. The injury must have been an internationally wrongful act by another State and the injured citizen must have been a national of the espousing state. Generally, a claim may not be espoused unless the “local remedies” rule is satisfied.
The United States has a long history of settling individual claims against foreign countries by international agreements. The Supreme Court has upheld this practice.
The Peace Treaty with Japan contains a mutual waiver of claims. Yet Americans who had been forced to work as slave laborers for Japanese companies filed lawsuits. The u.s. executive branch and courts held that their claims had been settled.
Certain Holocaust claims were resolved under a new format. Thus, creative approaches to resolving claims are available outside the normal legal framework.
Executive Order 12294 of Feb. 24,1981, 3c.f.r. 1981 Comp., at 139 (Feb. 24, 1981).
Executive Order 12281 of Jan. 19,1981, 3c.f.r. 1981 Comp., at 112 (Jan. 19, 1981).
In1998, a claimant sought to force the State Department to espouse a claim against Germany. The court of appeals reversed as a summary matter a lower court decision that would have compelled espousal. Miller v. Albright, No. 98–5511, 1998 wl 846653 (d.c. Cir. 1998).
In1988, Iraq agreed to pay $27,350,374 to the United States, which had espoused the claims on behalf of those suffering losses from the 37 deaths. The United States also espoused claims on behalf of 62 injured seamen. These claims were settled in a 1990 agreement, but the settlement amount was not paid. See M. Pickering, S. Cummins & D. Stewart eds., Digest of United States Practice in International Law 1989–1990 217–19 (International Law Institute, 2003). These claims (and others) were settled in 2011. Claims Settlement Agreement Between the United States and Iraq, u.s.-Iraq, Sept. 2, 2010, t.i.a.s. 11–522.
Treaty of Peace with Japan, Sept. 8,1951, 3u.s.t. 3169, 136 u.n.t.s 45.
Act of July 3, 1948, 62 Stat. 1240 (1948), as amended, 50 u.s.c. App. § 2001 et seq. (2012).