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UK introduces compensation scheme for victims of overseas terrorist attacks

[JURIST] The British Government announced [press release] Monday plans for a new scheme to compensate victims of terrorist attacks abroad. Home Secretary Alan Johnson [official profile] introduced the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme [text, PDF] as part of the Crime and Security Bill [materials] that is currently before Parliament. The scheme will be limited to British nationals who sustain any injury from an act of terrorism occurring outside the United Kingdom after January 1, 2002. Justice Secretary Jack Straw [official profile] said:

Terrorism is intended as a political statement and an attack on society as a whole. Therefore it is right that, as a tangible expression of sympathy, society should compensate the victims of terrorist attacks abroad in recognition of the injuries suffered… Although we will never be able to compensate fully the trauma victims of terrorism experience, we hope the new scheme will provide some much needed relief and recognition that victims and their loved ones go through.

Complete details of the plan have not yet been released.

The Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme broadly mirrors the country’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) [official website] scheme [text, PDF], which provides compensation for injuries, loss of earnings, death of a loved one, and expenses to Britons who are blameless victims of violent crimes occuring within the UK. The UK compensated victims [JURIST report] of the London bombings [BBC report] in 2005 via the CICA compensation scheme. Victims were awarded [JURIST report] between of £11,000 ($19,543 USD) with a maximum payout total of £500,000 ($888,542 USD). Following the US 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive], the US Justice Department [official website] established a Victim Compensation Fund [official website], which made more than 5,000 payments [JURIST report] to survivors and families of victims ranging from $250,000 to over $8 million.

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