U.S. House votes to allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi

U.S. House votes to allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi

PanARMENIAN.Net - The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Friday, September 9 that would allow relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for compensation -- a move the White House has threatened to veto, AFP reports.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act was approved in the House by unanimous voice vote some four months after its Senate passage -- and only two days before the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The government of Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally but also the home nation to 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers, has worked hard to see the bill defeated.

But it now heads to President Barack Obama's desk, where it faces an uncertain future.

The White House again signaled Friday it would veto the measure, because it would essentially waive the doctrine of sovereign immunity that protects nation states from civil suits or criminal prosecution.

But its easy passage in both chambers of Congress raises the specter of a veto override, which requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. It would be the first time Obama would be dealt such a blow during his presidency.

"This legislation would change long-standing, international law regarding sovereign immunity," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said back in May, after the Senate unanimously approved the bill.

"The president of the United States continues to harbor serious concerns that this legislation would make the United States vulnerable in other court systems around the world," Earnest said, according to AFP.

The measure, known as JASTA, would allow attack survivors and relatives of terror victims to pursue cases in federal court against foreign governments and demand compensation if such governments are proven to bear some responsibility for attacks on US soil.

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