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Authors

Susan L. Ronn

Abstract

In perhaps the only method available to respond with power to the horrors of "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Muslim women turned to a United States court for redress under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) The district court denied jurisdiction. This Article examines the opinion of the United States District Court in Doe v. Karadzic and concludes that Jane Doe and all others similarly situated should find redress in the courts of the United States for the brutalities inflicted upon them. Federal courts should not interpret the ATCA and the TVPA so narrowly as to preclude jurisdiction when a defendant acts under the authority of an unrecognized government. Rather, the courts should assert jurisdiction whenever a defendant acts under the authority of an entity that satisfies the requirements of statehood under recognized principles of international law. Part I of this Article briefly summarizes the history of the conflict in Bosnia- Herzegovina and documents the extensive rapes of Muslim women by Bosnian Serbs. Part II sets out the district court's opinion in Doe v. Karadzic. Part III asserts that the Doe court erred in refusing to grant jurisdiction over the defendant under either the ATCA or the TVPA. Part IV discusses recognition of states and the elements of statehood under international law. This section concludes that the Bosnian Serb entity, led by Radovan Karadzic, meets the elements of statehood and should therefore be held to a state's obligations. Part V asserts that because Karadzic can be found to have acted under the authority of either his own state or that of Serbia, the requirements for state action under both the ATCA and the TVPA aremet. The Doe court erred in ruling that it did not have jurisdiction; Jane Doe and all others similarly situated should not be turned away.