Sanctions and Terrorism

The United States imposes a wide variety of economic sanctions on foreign individuals, foreign corporations, countries, terrorist organizations, 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 to 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 behavior and in part because they often have negative consequences for marginalized communities in the countries subjected to sanctions, including countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Venezuela.

Recent Posts

Constitutional Issues in the Sudan Claims Resolution Act

District courts and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia have recently issued opinions addressing constitutional issues in litigation against Sudan. The United States and the Republic of Sudan signed an agreement (the Claims and Dispute Resolution Agreement) designed to improve diplomatic relations between the two countries, to promote democracy in Sudan, and…

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Choice of Law in Terrorism Cases

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (DDC) is routinely called upon to adjudicate civil cases where plaintiffs bring claims against foreign sovereigns on behalf of themselves or relatives who were killed or injured in terrorist attacks overseas. If the plaintiff is a foreign national, the DDC must apply the choice-of-law rules followed…

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Fuld: Right for the Wrong Reason

In a major decision interpreting Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (2023), the Second Circuit in Fuld v. Palestine Liberation Organization held that personal jurisdiction may not be established by relying on the “deemed consent” provision of the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (“PSJVTA”). A thorough review of the decision can…

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