Supreme Court denies Sudan’s petition for review in 1998 embassy bombing case
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Supreme Court denies Sudan’s petition for review in 1998 embassy bombing case

The US Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition for review filed by the Republic of Sudan concerning the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

In 2017 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit awarded several billion dollars to family members of victims of the embassy bombings. A 2001 lawsuit filed by US citizens held Sudan liable for damages and injuries caused by the attacks on the grounds that it had provided sanctuary to the Al Qaeda members who committed the bombings. The family members of foreign nationals working at the embassies at the time of the attacks filed a lawsuit against Sudan in 2017, claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Sudan argued that the foreign nationals did not satisfy the requirements under 28 USC 1605(c) and should not have been allowed to bring the lawsuit under state law instead. Sudan further argued that Congress intended for the relevant provisions to be the sole means of seeking a remedy against a foreign power. That interpretation, according to Sudan, would prevent foreign nationals from relying on federal or state law rights of action. Lastly, Sudan contends that the plaintiffs did not have a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress as none of them at the scene of the attacks.

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear these arguments, allowing the judgment against Sudan to stand.

In its petition Sudan stated being held liable for several billion dollars undermined its recovery and implied that it could hurt its transition to a civilian led-democracy. Given that statement, and the few options available for enforcing a judgment against a foreign power, it is uncertain whether Sudan will pay out the settlement.