Letter: Time to fix JASTA

Published: 11/20/2016 3:00:08 AM
Time to fix JASTA

Now that Election Day has come and gone, it is time to get back to D.C. and fix the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

A core tenet of international law, stretching back generations, is that a nation is immune from lawsuits in courts of another nation; a country should not use its courts to litigate against other nations.

There are several reasons why an alternative is needed. First, JASTA will undermine our ability to defend our interests around the world. In their quest for justice against terrorism, Congress opened the door for United States military personnel and government officials to be more vulnerable to unscrupulous lawsuits in foreign lands.

The principle known as sovereign immunity has governed relations between nation states for centuries. It holds that governments cannot litigate for civil wrongs without their consent. In international relations, sovereign immunity preserves the right and responsibility of governments to settle disputes with other governments on behalf of their citizens.

The United States military, the Department of State and our intelligence agencies have people performing duties vital to our national security around the world. I understand the political context in which JASTA passed both chambers with bipartisan support. However, as members return for a lame-duck session, it would be prudent to correct election-year misdeeds, with repeal legislation that protects our men and women serving abroad.

Ken Georgevits



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