Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau Cites Foreign Relations Law Restatement

In a recent case, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau Trial Division held that the squalid conditions of the solitary confinement quarters of Palau’s Koror Jail failed to meet “even the minimum standards of internationally recognized human decency” and “flagrantly violated” an inmate’s constitutional and human rights. In doing so, the court relied on the Restatement of the Law Third, the Foreign Relations Law of the United States in its order granting a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The court, in an opinion authored by Associate Justice R. Ashby Pate, cited to sections 701 and 702 of the Restatement to support its conclusion that Palau has an obligation to respect the human rights of inmates and further to refrain from inflicting cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment in its prisons.

Acknowledging that the Republic has no clear standards of what constitutes improper treatment, the court looked not only to the Restatement, but also to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

Palau’s National Code directs the courts to follow the “rules of the common law, as expressed in the restatements of the law approved by the American Law Institute.”