Canadian victims of terrorism will be able to sue perpetrators

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This week new legislation for Canadian courts would enable victims of terrorism to sue anyone who either commits an act of terrorism or funds terrorism acts.

"We will introduce legislation that will give victims of terrorism the power to obtain just compensation from those responsible for their suffering," said Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. "By amending the State Immunity Act, this bill will allow victims to sue perpetrators and sponsors of terrorist acts, including foreign states, in Canadian courts."

The announcement was made at the Canadian Jewish Congress 90th Anniversary lunch hour. The CJC has been lobbying for such legislation for over a decade. "It's sad to say, the Jewish community is the number one target on most terrorist lists," said Bernie M. Farber chief executive of the CJC.

The Canadian Coalition Against Terror also supports the proposed legislation. "The idea is to cut off the flow of money to terrorist organizations because that's what keeps them going. It's also about exposing them for what they're doing. A lawsuit can do that," said lawyer Aaron Blumenfeld representing C-CAT, "The intention is not just to try to get compensation out of those people who sponsored these attacks, but also to expose them for what they’ve done."

Critics are concerned about Canada's relations with friendly nations if Canadian citizens sue a foreign state, which would allow the Minister of Foreign Affairs to seize assets under the anti-terrorism bill.