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Judge Dismisses Apartheid Case Against US Companies

The apartheid system pervaded all areas of life.

A U.S. judge has dismissed a 12-year-old lawsuit against two major corporations accused of encouraging human rights violations in apartheid-era South Africa.

Black South Africans brought the case against car manufacturer Ford Motor Company and technology firm IBM in 2002, accusing them of supporting the South African government by providing vehicles and computers during decades of institutionalized segregation, discrimination and violence.

According to the plaintiffs, the U.S. companies were complicit in torture and extrajudicial killings because policy-level decisions were made in the United States.

The judge ruled that while Thursday's decision was "regrettable," the case could not continue in the U.S. because any alleged violations would have occurred under the jurisdiction of the companies' South African offices.