Enlisting the U.S. Courts in a New Front: Dismantling the International Business Holdings of Terrorist Groups through Federal Statutory and Common-Law Suits

By Strauss, Debra M. | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Enlisting the U.S. Courts in a New Front: Dismantling the International Business Holdings of Terrorist Groups through Federal Statutory and Common-Law Suits


Strauss, Debra M., Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


ABSTRACT

The time has come to extend the national approach that has been used successfully to dismantle the infrastructure of hate groups to the international realm against terrorist groups. The foundation of this approach is a private right to a cause of action apart from any military or diplomatic efforts by the government. In this Article, Professor Strauss analyzes case precedents under several federal statutes--the Antiterrorism Act of 1991, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Torture Victim Protection Act, the Alien Tort Claim Act--as well as state common-law tort claims, including aiding and abetting liability. Professor Strauss proposes an aggregate model for lawsuits by victims against terrorist groups, organizations, and state sponsors of international terrorism, combining these claims and the types of damages and defendants accessible. Professor Strauss also outlines important tools for plaintiffs in the civil battle against terrorism by exploring the obstacles to and avenues for enforcement of these judgments through the rule of international law and access to the frozen assets of terrorist states and organizations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  I. INTRODUCTION
 II. AN ANALYSIS OF CASE PRECEDENTS
     A. Antiterrorism Act of 1991
        1. The Seminal Case: Boim v. Quranic
           Literacy Institute
        2. A Modern View of "International
           Terrorism": Estates of Ungar v.
           The Palestinian Authority
        3. No Sovereignty for the PLO: Knox
           v. Palestine Liberation Organization
        4. A Limitation on Personal Jurisdiction:
           Biton v. Palestinian Interim
           Self-Government Authority
        5. Defining the Scope of Coverage and
           Damages: Smith v. Islamic Emirate
           of Afghanistan
     B. AEDPA Section 1605(a)(7) and the Flatow
        Amendment to the FSIA
        1. A Door Opens for Victims: Flatow
           v. Islamic Republic of Iran and
           Its Progeny
        2. A Partial Ban on Punitive Damages:
           Alejandre v. Republic of Cuba
        3. A Cause of Action Against a Foreign
           State for Torture: Price v. Socialist
           People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
        4. A Clarification of the Elements:
           Kilburn v. The Republic of Iran
        5. Punitive Damages for an Extrajudicial
           Killing: Campuzano v. Islamic
           Republic of Iran
        6. A Contrasting View of Punitive
           Damages: Dammarell v. Islamic
           Republic of Iran
        7. Providing an Independent Claim
           Against a Foreign State and Broad
           Personal Jurisdiction: Pugh v.
           Socialist People's Libyan Arab
           Jamahiriya
        8. Reining in a Private Cause of Action
           and Setting New Limits: Cicippio v.
           Islamic Republic of Iran and Its
           Progeny
     C. Other Federal Statutes: Torture Victim
        Protection Act and Alien Tort Claim Act
     D. Common-Law Tort Claims
     E. A Potpourri of Claims: The Recent 9/11
        Case
III. ENFORCEABILITY OF JUDGMENTS
     A. General Principles of International Law
     B. Executive Orders and Resistance
     C. Collecting the Frozen Assets: The Victims
        of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act
        of 2000 and the Terrorism Risk Insurance
        Act of 2002
        1. The Victims of Trafficking and
           Violence Protection Act of 2000
        2. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act
           of 2002
 IV. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

International terrorism has long been recognized as a serious threat to foreign and domestic security. A recent report of the Department of State shows minimal change from 2002 to 2003 in the number of terrorist incidents worldwide--a decrease from 199 attacks to 190. (1) Likewise in 2003, the overall number of reported anti-U.S. attacks remained more or less constant, with eighty-two anti-U. …

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