TVPA Law and Legal Definition

TVPA is the abbreviation of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. It is a federal statute that allows filing of civil suits, in the United States, against individuals who, acting in an official capacity for any foreign nation, committed torture and/or extrajudicial killing. The plaintiffs may be citizens or noncitizens. The statute requires a plaintiff to show exhaustion of local remedies in the location of the crime, to the extent that such remedies are "adequate and available. The Act defines extra judicial killing as a deliberated killing not authorized by a previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. Such term, however, does not include any such killing that, under international law, is lawfully carried out under the authority of a foreign nation. Torture means any act, directed against an individual in the offender’s custody or physical control, by which severe pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering arising only from or inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions), whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on that individual for such purposes as obtaining from that individual or a third person information or a confession, punishing that individual for an act that individual or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, intimidating or coercing that individual or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind. The TVPA has been used by victims of terrorism to sue foreign states that have been designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism.