Washington: A US bill allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for damages has prompted an Iraqi lobby group to push the parliament for a law seeking compensation for the American invasion of the country, citing “violations by US forces.”
Following Washington’s example, the Arab Project in Iraq lobby group is now seeking to “ask for compensation from the United States over violations by the US forces following the US invasion that saw the toppling of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003,” Al-Arabiya reported Saturday.
The group – the first to take advantage of the precedent set by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) – has asked the Iraqi parliament to prepare the lawsuit.
The move came on a day when a a top lawyer urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to enact law similar to the controversial US law allowing the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette following the passage of the controversial legislation by the US Congress, overriding President Barack Obama’s veto, Dr. Khaled Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Nuwaisser described JASTA as a dangerous precedent, adding that it would give the US Congress greater powers than the international law that protects sovereignty and immunity of countries.
“It’s now imperative to pass a similar law or Saudi JASTA that would allow every Saudi to take legal action against any government that sponsors terrorism against the Kingdom, including Iran and Hezbollah, by filing lawsuits at Saudi courts,” he explained.
“This bill (JASTA) is unfortunate and a dangerous precedent,” Al-Nuwaisser has been quoted by Saudi Gazette.
The Saudi lawyer also called upon all other GCC countries to enact similar laws, not only to stand by the Kingdom but also to protect their interests.
“We have to make speedy steps to enact the new law before other countries pass laws similar to JASTA and before facing a spate of lawsuits from more than one place,” he added.
JASTA was passed by US Congress last week. It creates an exception to the sovereign immunity law introduced in 1976, allowing Americans to sue foreign countries for acts of terrorism that kill Americans on US soil.
The White House was against approving the act, stating that such lawsuits would open the door to legal challenges against US officials in other countries.
JASTA allows a lawsuit against any country by any US citizen who claims a nation financed or otherwise aided and abetted a terrorist attack on US soil. However, the plaintiff would be required to show the country acted with knowledge in providing the support.