UPDATE 4-U.S. court revives human rights case vs Rio Tinto

Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:44pm GMT

* Genocide, war crimes claims revived; others dismissed

* Bougainville residents linked Rio Tinto to many deaths

* Rio Tinto intends to defend against claims

* U.S. Supreme Court to review Alien Tort Statute reach

By Jonathan Stempel

Oct 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit seeking to hold Rio Tinto Plc responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to a Papua New Guinea copper and gold mine it once ran.

A divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court's dismissal of claims against the mining giant for genocide and war crimes, while upholding the dismissal of claims for racial discrimination and crimes against humanity.

"The complaint alleges purposeful conduct undertaken by Rio Tinto with the intent to assist in the commission of violence, injury, and death, to the degree necessary to keep its mines open," Judge Mary Schroeder wrote.

Some dissenting judges protested against allowing a lawsuit to proceed in federal courts brought by non-U.S. residents against a non-U.S. companies such as Rio Tinto, which has corporate offices in London and in Melbourne, Australia.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.