Passing of JASTA a violation of int'l law: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

JEDDAH, 3rd October, 2016 (WAM) — The passing of the U.S. law known as the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) is in violation of the principle of immunity of sovereign states, which is a basic and established legal principle in international relations and international law, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) stated on Monday.

The 57-member organisation which represents the collective voice of the Muslim world warned that the unilateral legislation is “an invitation to serious chaos in international relations” that would negatively impact international efforts to combat terrorism.

“The reactions of the international community to the law underscore the need to adhere to the centuries-old position held by states that no sovereign state, relying on arbitrary standards as means of applying political and economic pressure, may impose its jurisdiction on another sovereign state. Otherwise, this would be a breach of the independence of states and a flagrant violation of established principles in international law and interstate relations,” the OIC said in a statement.

This unilateral law upsets a firm and established international legal order and diminishes the integrity of the entire international legal system because it opens the door to states to pass similar laws, which is expected in reaction to protect their rights, it stressed.

The current international crisis situation and the humanitarian tragedies we witness everyday should propel all states, particularly the big powers, to affirm their respect for and commitment to the rules of international law, the OIC noted.

The OIC urged these states to look for solutions to these international crises within and under the umbrella of international law, and not by breaching or violating it. “Otherwise, the world would unfortunately witness more chaos, injustice, and oppression.”

The OIC further expressed its hope that the U.S. legislature would re-consider the JASTA legislation and that it would not enter into effect so as to ensure regional and international peace and to ensure that the international efforts to combat terrorism are not negatively impacted.

On 28th September 2016, both houses of the U.S. Congress voted to over-ride President Obama’s veto of the JASTA amending the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act allowing U.S. citizens to sue foreign governments and entities for damages resulting from acts of terrorism committed on U.S. soil on or after 11th September, 2001.

On 29th September, President Obama said that Congress made a “mistake” by over-riding his veto and the bill would set a “dangerous precedent” for individuals around the world to sue the U.S. government.

WAM/MMYS WAM 2000 2016/10/03 END