Sovereign immunity

Pages:6-16
78 Volume 23, October–December 2017 international law update
© 2017 International Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ISSN 1089-5450, ISSN 1943-1287 (on-line) | www.internationallawupdate.com
the arbitrator. See 9 U.S.C. § 10. Our reading of
Section 1650a thus suggests that Congress did not
contemplate federal court “recognition” of ICSID
awards; it contemplated only enforcement. And
enforcement should proceed, the statute directs, “as
if the award were a nal judgment of a [state court]”
for which enforcement were sought in federal court
and which is owed full faith and credit. 22 U.S.C.
§ 1650a.
Section 1650a of Title 22 requires federal
courts to enforce ICSID awards as if they were nal
judgments of state courts. Since the District Court
did not have subject matter jurisdiction under
Section 1650a and that the FSIA governs all aspects
of this action, it follows that the District Court’s
judgment was void. e District Court’s order
denying Venezuela’s motion to vacate is reversed, the
judgment is vacated, and the cause is remanded with
instructions to dismiss the petition without prejudice
to renewal in an action commenced in compliance
with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
citation: Mobil Cerro Negro Ltd. v. Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela, 863 F. 3d 96 (2d. Circuit
2017).
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
Considering challenges to default
judgments holding Sudan liable for the
injuries suffered by victims of the 1998
al Qaeda embassy bombings in Kenya and
Tanzania, District of Columbia Circuit
interprets FSIA terrorism exception
e following long and detailed opinion of the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit considers Sudan’s challenges to default
judgments holding it liable for terrorist acts of al
Qaeda. After its review, the Court (1) arms the
district court’s ndings of jurisdiction; (2) arms
the district court’s denial of vacatur; (3) vacates
all awards of punitive damages; and (4) certies a
question of state law to the District of Columbia
Court of Appeals: “whether a plainti must be
present at the scene of a terrorist bombing in order
to recover for IIED.”
On August 7, 1998 truck bombs exploded
outside the United States embassies in Nairobi,
Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. e
explosions killed more than 200 people and injured
more than a thousand. Many of the victims of the
attacks were U.S. citizens, government employees,
or contractors. Starting in 2001 victims of the
bombings began to bring suits against the Republic
of Sudan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, alleging
that Sudan, its Ministry of the Interior, Iran, and
its Ministry of Information and Security materially
supported al Qaeda during the 1990s. From 1991
to 1996, al Qaeda and its leader, Usama bin Laden,
maintained a base of operations in Sudan. During
this time, al Qaeda developed the terrorist cells
in Kenya and Tanzania that would later launch
the embassy attacks. Specically, the plaintis
contended Sudan provided a safe harbor to al
Qaeda and that Iran, through its proxy Hezbollah,
trained al Qaeda militants. In bringing these cases,
the plaintis relied upon a provision in the Foreign
Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA) that withdraws
sovereign immunity and grants courts jurisdiction
to hear suits against foreign states designated as
sponsors of terrorism. 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7).

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