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Immunity for Kamal Nath – Arguments concluded, U.S. court reserved ruling

September 26, 2011 | By

New York, USA (September 24, 2011): Judge Robert W. Sweet of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York heard arguments in Sikh Genocide case against Kamal Nath for his role in leading a mob which attacked Gurdawara Rakab Ganj Delhi on November 01, 1984 in which many Sikhs were burnt alive. In today’s hearing, Kamal Nath failed to produce “Statement of Interest” from US Department of State in support of his claim to Diplomatic Immunity.

After hearing the arguments from both sides which lasted for more than 45 minutes, Judge Sweet reserved his ruling. The plaintiffs requested the court to issue a default judgment against Kamal Nath for failing to respond within 21 days after receiving the Summons on April 6, 2010. SFJ has already demanded a “jury trial” from the court during which plaintiffs will submit documentary evidence proving participation of Kamal Nath and other leaders of Congress in November 1984 Sikh Genocide.

Plaintiffs in their response have argued that the Judge Robert Sweet has personal and subject matter jurisdiction over Kamal Nath Under the Alien Torts Claim Act and Torture Victim Protection Act. In today’s arguments, plaintiffs emphasized that despite having knowledge about the case and openly acknowledging the receipt of summons and complaint, Nath did not respond within 21 days as required by the law. In fact, argued the plaintiffs, that Nath completely ignored the summons till August 2010 when plaintiffs moved for entry of default judgment against him. Based on this, the plaintiffs requested the court to issue a default judgment against Kamal Nath.

In his motion filed on June 24, 2011 Nath has claimed that he is entitled to immunity from prosecution in the United States and that no one has ever served him with summons and complaints during his April 2010 visit to New York. Ever since Indian government has issued demarches to US Department of State for granting immunity to Kamal Nath, Sikh community through SFJ have been actively campaigning before US Government to deny Nath’s request for immunity and instead prosecute him under Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009.

According to attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, Nath’s claim of diplomatic immunity is likely to be denied by the court because Nath has failed to obtain “Statement of Interest” from US Department of State in support of his claim for immunity from prosecution in US Federal Court. “U.S. law provides a remedy to victims of human rights violations that have been committed abroad and allows the victims to bring a lawsuit against the perpetrator in the U.S. Federal District Court.” Attorney Pannun added that “Despite several witnesses who saw Kamal Nath inciting and leading the mob, Nath has been successfully escaping justice under the Indian system for more than 25 years using his influence and position in the ruling Congress (I) party.

Sikh community is holding a protest rally on September 24 during PM Singh’s address to the General Assembly demanding sacking of Kamal Nath from cabinet and prosecution of Congress leaders involved in November 1984 killing of Sikhs.

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