Sanctions and Terrorism

The United States imposes a wide variety of economic sanctions on foreign individuals, foreign corporations, countries, terrorist organisations, and other entities. Sanctions are an increasingly important part of U.S. foreign policy and they play a significant role in the work of the United Nations, the European Union, and some other countries.  Many sanctions do not give rise litigation, but some do. Indeed, some sanctions legislation provides a cause of action, lifts foreign sovereign immunity, or otherwise makes it easier to sue sanctioned entities in the United States.

Sanctions related to terrorism generate a lot of litigation, so we have grouped the two topics together.  Sanctions are imposed for many reasons other than terrorism, however, and some terrorism-related litigation is not a product of sanctions. Finally, sanctions are a controversial topic globally, in part because it is unclear that they are effective at changing behaviour and in part because they often have negative consequences for marginalised communities in the countries subjected to sanctions, including countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Venezuela.

Recent Posts

Resolving the Immunity Issues in Halkbank

The question now before the U.S. Supreme Court in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.Ş., v. United States is whether a foreign state’s wholly-owned private bank is immune from criminal prosecution in U.S. courts. The issue is framed as one of statutory interpretation, since the Second Circuit affirmed District Judge Berman’s ruling that the 1976 Foreign Sovereign…

Continue Reading

The Fate of the Afghan Central Bank Assets – State of Play

Afghanistan is experiencing a humanitarian and economic crisis following the Taliban’s return to power in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal of forces in August 2021. As previously covered on TLB (and on Lawfare), the U.S. government has frozen roughly $7 billion in assets held by Afghanistan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), that were…

Continue Reading

The Executive Does Not Control Common Law Immunity

A previously reported on TLB, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Türkiye Halk Bankasi, A.S. v. United States, to decide whether a bank owned by Turkey is entitled to foreign state immunity from federal criminal prosecution.  Halkbank was indicted for evading sanctions against Iran. Both lower courts denied immunity to Halkbank, reasoning in part that…

Continue Reading