There are three key points of note:
- The case is now considering whether genocide was committed during the Crisis. Qoute: "Judge Schroeder said the complaint's allegation that Rio Tinto's "worldwide modus operandi" was to treat indigenous non-Caucasians as "expendable" justified restoring the genocide claim to the case."
- Corporations can be held liable in U.S. courts for human rights violations committed abroad.
- The case was successfully appealed despite the fact that it has not yet been pursued through PNG courts, which as I understood it was a threshold issue for the Alien Tort Statute.
This is going to require a bit of digging, will post on this soon.
Further to this, another blogger is well on the ball and has plenty of coverage on the history behind the case, including a couple of cables from Wikileaks. If you are interested pop over to Trinketization.