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U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Can Sue Foreign States for Retroactive Punitive Damages Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2020-10-20, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2020.75


In Opati v. Republic of Sudan, the Supreme Court upheld a $4.3 billion award of punitive damages against Sudan for its support of the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Supreme Court held that Congress's 2008 amendments to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) authorized the plaintiffs to recover punitive damages from state sponsors of terrorism for acts committed prior to the enactment of these amendments. This case is part of a broader trend of U.S. litigation brought against states who are designated sponsors of terrorism or alternatively are deemed responsible for acts of terrorism within the United States.