JASTA – To Be Or Not To Be?

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) is a bill which allows U.S. courts to decide cases on claims against foreign states, for the most part cases on acts of terrorism in USA connected foreign states.

The draft law was adopted by the Senate in May, 2016 and by the House of Representatives in September, 2016 in response to suspicions that terrorists’ attacks on Twin Towers in 2001 were supported by Government of Saudi Arabia.

Several days ago the information concerning the President’s veto on it was published in the media. The Obama said that the normative act against sponsors of terrorism may damage National Security and important alliances. The President also remarked that such kind of legislation gives an opportunity to file claims for damages against U.S. Government because of the actions of foreign groups who received their assistance.

Most experts define that the daft law definitely relates to Saudi Arabia despite the fact that it doesn’t call any definite country. Government of Saudi Arabia denied connection terrorist attacks in 2001. But the fact that 15 of 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001 were Saudis speaks for itself.

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump immediately reported that if they were elected they would have adopted the law.

For the time of his work by the President Obama used his rigtht of veto 12 times. 2/3 of voices of the Senate and the House of Representatives is needed to cancel it.

Recently it became known that The Congress rejected the President’s veto on the draft law. The results are: 338 congressmen voted for it and 74 against. It mean that at the first time after 8 years Obama’s veto was overcome.

Also it means that the law comes into force.

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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