Reaching Out to the International Community: Civil Lawsuits as the Common Ground in the Battle Against Terrorism
Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 307-356, 2009
50 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2009
Date Written: Winter 2009
Professor Strauss has previously proposed an aggregate model for lawsuits by victims against terrorist groups and state-sponsors of international terrorism, combining the claims available under several U.S. statutes, as well as state common law tort claims including aiding and abetting liability, to maximize the types of damages and defendants accessible. As the judgments from these civil lawsuits build, the United States is on the way to combating terrorism through a nonmilitary approach to compensate the victims of terrorism while depleting the funding for future terrorist acts. The current article explores ways to extend this successful approach to international organizations. This article also analyzes a new piece of legislation that has recently been signed into law - the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2007 - which will correct several limitations previously existing in the law to expand these lawsuits and to facilitate the collection of judgments for victims against terrorist states through U.S. subsidiary banks. Recognizing jurisdiction and enforcing these judgments at an international level would bring the community together with a common goal against terrorism. In view of the eroding support for military action, international organizations and nations could find common ground in bolstering these civil lawsuits and thereby promoting the rule of law.
Keywords: terrorism, civil lawsuits, international law, jurisdiction, enforcement of judgments, UN resolutions, UN Security Council, counter terrorism
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