There is a pressing need for congressional action to address loopholes in the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). Drawing on a personal tragedy involving the murder of their daughter and son-in-law by Hamas terrorists, the author of this recent editorial contends that the erosion of JASTA's intent, exacerbated by foreign banks manipulating U.S. court interpretations, allows funds to continue flowing to terrorists.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was passed by the United States Congress on September 28, 2016.
When JASTA was passed, it primarily called for the following key provisions:
Allow U.S. Citizens to bring lawsuits against foreign states for their involvement in terrorist acts against American citizens on U.S. soil.
Hold accountable not only the direct perpetrators of terrorist acts but also those who provide material support, whether directly or indirectly, to terrorists.
Allowed for exceptions to sovereign immunity, enabling private citizens to sue foreign governments for their alleged roles in acts of terrorism.
Provided legal avenue for victims to seek compensation and justice against entities, including foreign states, involved in supporting or sponsoring terrorist activities.
Narrow Court rulings have narrowed the scope of JASTA, have required plaintiffs to prove direct conspiracy between defendants and terrorists who committed the acts, making it challenging for victims to establish liability.
This has created a safe harbor for foreign banks by allowing that if a bank conducts any legitimate business in addition to illegally funding terrorism it cannot be held liable for terrorist attacks on Americans.
In one ruling against Gold Star Families and Wounded Warriors from terrorist acts, the court even called on congress to clarify the law:
“Unsatisfying as the Court’s decision today may be from a moral or policy perspective, it is up to the Congress, and not the judiciary, to authorize terrorism victims to recover damages for their injuries from financial institutions that conspire with state sponsors of terrorism like Iran to evade U.S. Sanctions…In its present form, however, the law does not provide for such recovery.”
To read the original Article from The Hill: