Ahead of 22nd Anniversary, 9/11 Community Calls on Congress & President Biden to Support & Protect Victims of Terrorism
Washington, D.C. – As our country approaches the 22nd anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in American history, over 4,000 family members and survivors of the 9/11 attacks are calling on President Biden and Members of Congress to ensure all victims of terrorism are afforded the opportunity to attain the justice they deserve. In letters sent to Capitol Hill and the White House today, the 9/11 community called on Congress to quickly pass the bipartisan Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (EJVTA – S.2082/ H.R. 4951) into law.
This legislation would fulfill the promise Congress made to terrorism victims when it passed the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in 1990 and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in 2016.
“We are standing together to insist on accountability, and we call on our leaders to stand with us and prioritize our pursuit of justice over the Kingdom’s desire to escape culpability for attacking our nation and murdering our loved ones. If they are innocent, they have nothing to fear and need to stop trying to strong-arm our legislative process to bend in their favor,” 9/11 Families United National Chair Terry Strada said today.
Noting that “we are spouses, children, parents, siblings, and personal representatives of those who were murdered, and individuals who sustained physical injuries, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” the letter sent to Congress reads in part:
- Congress must act swiftly to ensure that the courts faithfully apply the Antiterrorism Act and JASTA as originally intended and that the 9/11 Families and survivors are finally afforded the opportunity to attain the justice we deserve.
As U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the lead Republican sponsor of the EJVTA, recently explained:
- “By making minor technical edits, this bill makes sure JASTA works the way it was intended to, reaffirms our commitment to holding sponsors of terrorism accountable, and ensures victims’ families can continue to seek justice against those who perpetrated these horrific acts.” [Click Here For More]
And as U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the lead Democratic sponsor of the EJVTA, further noted:
- “This effort will ensure that U.S. victims of terrorism and their family members are able to seek justice in a court of law as Congress intended. We must stand in solidarity with those Americans who have been affected by acts of terrorism.” [Click Here For More]
The Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act makes three technical corrections to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that will:
- Reaffirm that injured plaintiffs can sue any person or entity, including a foreign state, for aiding and abetting terrorism;
- Ensure that terrorism victims bringing suit under JASTA have a clear mechanism to enforce any judgment they receive against a foreign state; and
- Clarify what Congress has always intended in the ATA and JASTA, that all U.S. citizens injured in their person, business, or property may seek recovery in the U.S. civil justice system from those who commit or aid-and-abet a terrorist attack in the United States.
JASTA was enacted in September of 2016 following an overwhelming show of support in Congress. That law amended the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) so that foreign states that sponsor terrorism cannot invoke “sovereign immunity” in cases arising from a terrorist attack on American soil. JASTA also amended the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) so that victims can hold liable foreign sponsors of terrorism who commit or aid-and-abet a terrorist attack.
Since JASTA’s passage, the 9/11 community has been pursuing justice and accountability in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Misinterpretations of JASTA by that court have made EJVTA necessary.
About 9/11 Families United:
9/11 Families United is an organization consisting of family members of those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as many of those who survived, were injured in or sickened from the attacks, a community that numbers well over 10,000. More information is at www.911familiesunited.org.