World united in decrying JASTA, warn of ‘legal’ implications on all states

Passing JASTA will give the opportunity for citizens around the world to sue many other sovereign nations, including the US itself

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Here are some international reactions after Congress overrode US President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). If passed, JASTA would allow US citizens to sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Passing the law will also give the opportunity for citizens around the world to sue many other sovereign nations, including the United States itself, eroding the principle of sovereign immunity.


1- US President Barack Obama dubbed it as a “mistake” and “basically a political vote.”

He said: “I understand why it happened. Obviously, all of us still carry the scars and trauma of 9/11 - nobody more than this 9/11 generation that has fought on our behalf of the country in the aftermath of 9/11.”

2- A White House official said JASTA was “embarrassing.”

“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One. In that year, the Senate overrode President Ronald Reagan’s veto of a land bill to give a few acres to six retired couples who paid for it, but later learned that it was still government property because of a surveying error.

3- CIA Director John Brennan warned that JASTA will have grave implications for the national security of the United States.

“The principle of sovereign immunity protects US officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity,” he said. “If we fail to uphold this standard for other countries, we place our own nation’s officials in danger.”

He said: “No country has more to lose from undermining that principle than the United States—and few institutions would be at greater risk than the CIA.”

4- White House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged Obama’s concerns that the bill could subject US service members to lawsuits in foreign courts.

“So I’d like to think that there’s a way we could fix it so that our service members do not have legal problems overseas, while still protecting the rights of the 9/11 victims,” Ryan told reporters.

5- Russia: US again showed disregard to international law

“Washington has once again demonstrated total disregard for international law, legalizing the possibility of filing lawsuits in US courts against states suspected of supporting terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department said in a statement, as cited by RIA Novosti.

“The United States, where many politicians have come to believe in their own ‘uniqueness,’ insistently continues along the line of extending its jurisdiction to the entire world, disregarding the notions of state sovereignty and common sense,” the statement added.

6- France: JASTA violates international law

In Paris, French authorities have reiterated their rejection to JASTA, which the Foreign Ministry said violates international law. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Romain Nadal said France and European countries consider JASTA as contravening international law.

Nadal also said that France, which is fighting militants along with its partners, including the United States, said this battle “should be waged through the respect of national and international laws.”

7- French Parliamentarian Pierre Lellouche

He warned that JASTA would “cause a legal revolution in international law with major political consequences.” He said one of those consequences would be French citizens allowed to sue the United States.

8- EU criticizes JASTA

An EU spokesperson said : “We do not believe the approach set out in JASTA is in the interest of either the EU or US, and it would be in conflict with the fundamental principles of international law and, in particular, the principle of state sovereign immunity.”

9- The Dutch parliament said JASTA is a “gross and unwarranted breach of Dutch sovereignty.”

10- Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed, tweeted: “Are there no rational people among you?”

He said the law “is an arrow launched by the US Congress at its own country.”

11- Egypt

Ahmed Abu Zaid, spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry warned that JASTA could have a dire effect on international relations.

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