Source: (2006) Law & Society Review. 40(3): 623-652.

South African plaintiffs are suing numerous multinational corporations under the American Alien Tort Claims Act for aiding and abetting apartheid’s crimes against humanity. This article argues that Re South African Apartheid Litigation should be understood as a cosmopolitan remembering of the nation. This interpretation runs counter to theoretical and political presumptions of an inherent antagonism between cosmopolitanism and nationhood. The apparent divide between cosmopolitanism and nation-building is bridged by the concept of victimhood. Insofar as nation-building in South Africa depends upon the restoration of victims, so too is cosmopolitanism victim-centered in its commitment to prevent harm and suffering. The apartheid litigants enact the duality of cosmopolitanism: they press for justice on the basis of cosmopolitan right, yet they do so in part because of their continued marginalization in the ‘‘new’’ South Africa with respect to issues of ‘‘truth’’ and reparation. Following on the ‘‘unfinished business’’ of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the apartheid litigation illustrates the intersection of cosmopolitanism with national memory and belonging. (Author's abstract)