Will 9/11 victims' families be able to sue Saudi Arabia?

Gulf states rap passage by US Congress of law allowing families of the deadly 2001 attacks to sue the kingdom; White House expected to veto measure.

By REUTERS
September 12, 2016 12:02
1 minute read.
The second tower of the World Trade Center bursts into flames after being hit by a hijacked airplane

The second tower of the World Trade Center bursts into flames after being hit by a hijacked airplane in New York on September 11, 2001.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

DUBAI - The Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday condemned a law passed by the United States Congress last week that would allow the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue the kingdom's government for damages.

The head of the six-nation GCC said the law was "contrary to the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states."

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"Such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism," GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement.

The US House of Representatives passed the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," known as JASTA, on Friday but the White House has threatened to veto the measure.

Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers who crashed airliners in New York, outside Washington and in Pennsylvania were Saudi nationals.

Opponents of the measure said it could strain relations with Saudi Arabia and lead to retaliatory laws that would allow foreign nationals to sue Americans for alleged involvement in terrorist attacks.

If Obama carries out the veto threat and the required two-thirds of both the Republican-majority House and Senate still support the bill, it would be the first time since Obama's presidency began in 2009 that Congress had overridden a veto.




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