US restores Sudan’s sovereign immunity except for 9/11 related cases

Khartoum, Dec 22 (efe-epa).- The United States on Tuesday restored Sudan’s sovereign immunity before US courts, but families of the victims of the September 11 attacks can still sue the African country, Khartoum announced.

“With the legislation approved (by the Congress) in place, Sudan will be a country with full sovereign immunity from any future lawsuits,” the Sudanese justice ministry said in a statement.

The law was approved over a week after the US had officially removed Sudan from the blacklist of countries that sponsor terror.

It was originally blacklisted over the support the regime of former president Omar al-Bashir provided for figures including al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who lived in the African country for five years.

Although Sudan has recovered its sovereign immunity, families of victims of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 can still file lawsuits against the African country under the terrorism law.

During the negotiations, Sudanese authorities unsuccessfully pushed for the 11 September-related lawsuits to be considered under The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

The act allows US federal courts to try other nations over their support for acts of terror against the US, regardless of whether the country is featured on the blacklist.

However, the justice ministry said the legislation “offers a global protection against any future lawsuit and resolves all the filed lawsuits” against the African country.

With the legislation approved, Sudan will unblock $335-million compensations for the victims of the terror attacks, deposited in a joint account.

US courts have held Sudan responsible for being an accessory to the al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in 2000 in the waters of the Gulf of Aden.

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