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Families of USS Cole victims seek reopening of lawsuit against Sudan

[JURIST] Lawyers representing the families of 17 US Navy personnel killed in the 2000 al Qaeda attack [US DOD inquiry report; JURIST news archive] on the USS Cole [official website] have filed court papers asking US District Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] to reopen their lawsuit against the government of Sudan, according to Monday media reports. The families say they will be able to recover additional damages in the case since US President George W. Bush signed the Justice for Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Act (S 1944) [text] into law on January 28. The Act allows victims of future and prior terrorism-related attacks, excluding those involving Iraq, to seek punitive damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

In July, Doumar ordered the government of Sudan to pay $7.96 million in compensation [JURIST report] to the families of the Cole victims, but said he could not award the $105 million sought by the families for pain and suffering as the federal Death on the High Seas Act [text] limited compensation to only economic damages. AP has more.

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