Ambassador Prosper Discusses Dismissal of Wrongful Death Suit with Reuters
Arent Fox Litigation partner Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper was quoted in the Reuters legal blog, On the Case, after Arent Fox secured a major victory for Rwandan President Paul Kagame when the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling and dismissed a wrongful death suit filed by two widows of assassinated African presidents.
Reuters reported that as a result of the court’s ruling, “the U.S. State Department has the right, under the Separation of Powers doctrine, to confer immunity on foreign heads of state.” Amb. Prosper told Reuters that such immunity is the bedrock of strong foreign relations and pointed out that if the United States didn’t offer protection to foreign leaders, our own officials might be subject to arrest by a foreign government.
“Obviously, we’re pleased with the result,” Amb. Prosper said. “It confirms that foreign heads of state will be respected by our courts and that there will be reciprocity for our officials.”
Amb. Prosper was the US Ambassador-at-Large in charge of the Secretary of State’s Office of War Crimes Issues. He previously served as a war crimes prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1996 to 1998, and he is a former state and federal prosecutor. His practice focuses on international government relations and trade, mediation and internal assessments, and investigations on behalf of government entities and companies.