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California Court of Appeal hears landmark immunity case

13th April 2018

Rodney Dixon QC acts for the parents of a 19 year old US national, Furkan Dogan, who was shot and killed on board the Mavi Marmara ship that was sailing to Gaza in May 2010 to deliver humanitarian aid. It was intercepted in international waters by the Israeli Defence Force, who killed 10 passengers including Furkan and injured over 50 persons.

Furkan’s parents have proceeded against Ehud Barak, former Israeli Minister of Defence at the time for civil damages under the Alien Torts Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act in the courts of California. Jurisdiction was founded by service on Mr Barak in 2015 while on a lecture tour in the Los Angeles area. The District Court dismissed the case in the first instance on the grounds that Mr Barak as a former state official enjoys official immunity from suit. The Court of Appeal will today hear the complainants’ appeal on the grounds that as a matter of national and international law former state officials are not immunised for the most serious violations of international law.

The matter has never been determined by the California Court of Appeal or the US Supreme Court. The well-known Pinochet case in the UK that denied immunity to the former Chilean dictator is one of several international precedents relied on.

Rodney is working with Californian veteran civil rights lawyer, Dan Stormer from Hadsell, Stormer and Renick.

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Rodney Dixon KC

Rodney Dixon KC
Year of Call: 2000
Year of Silk: 2014