34 Volume 20, April–June 2014 international law update
© 2014 Transnational Law Associates, LLC. All rights reserved. ISSN 1089-5450, ISSN 1943-1287 (on-line) | www.internationallawupdate.com
inquiry, as the Court recognizes, would not be
‘`relevant’ to execution in the rst place.’ Ante, at
10 (citing Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 26(b)(1)). Yet the
Court permits unlimited inquiry into Argentina’s
property outside the United States, whether or not
the property is ‘used for a commercial activity.’ By
what authorization does a court in the United States
become a ‘clearinghouse for information,’ ante, at 3
(internal quotation marks omitted), about any and
all property held by Argentina abroad? NML may
seek such information, the Court reasons, because
‘NML does not yet know what property Argentina
has [outside the United States], let alone whether
it is executable under the relevant jurisdiction’s
law.’ …. But see Société Nationale Industrielle
Aérospatiale v. United States Dist. Court for Southern
Dist. of Iowa, 482 U. S. 522, 542 (1987) (observing
that other jurisdictions generally allow much more
limited discovery than is available in the United
States).” […]
“Unless and until the judgment debtor, here,
NML, proves that other nations would allow
unconstrained access to Argentina’s assets, I would
be guided by the one law we know for sure—our
own. at guide is all the more appropriate, as our
law coincides with the international norm. See
§1602. Accordingly, I would limit NML’s discovery
to property used here or abroad ‘in connection
with . . . commercial activities.’ §§1602, 1610(a). I
therefore dissent from the sweeping examination of
Argentina’s worldwide assets the Court exorbitantly
approves today.” [Slip. op. 5-6]
citation: Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital,
Ltd., No. 12-842 (U.S. Supreme Court, June 16,
Seventh Circuit affirms District Court
orders to have Syrian assets turned
over to one of the groups of Plaintiffs
competing for the assets; Court outlines
procedure for enforcing judgments
under the FSIA in cases of state-
sponsored terrorism, and interprets
28 U.S.C. Section 1610 [Exceptions to
the immunity of a foreign state from
attachment or execution]
In the following case, the Seventh Circuit
interprets 28 U.S.C. Section 1610 [Exceptions to
the immunity of a foreign state from attachment or
execution] where two groups of terrorism victims
claim the same assets of the Syrian Arab Republic.
e U.S. government has designated that country
as a state sponsor of terrorism.
e underlying District Court cases both
originated in the U.S. District Court for the District
of Columbia. e “Baker plaintis” (appellants)
were victims of the 1985 hijacking of EgyptAir
Flight 648 by the Abu Nidal group, which was
supported by the Syrian government. Of the 95
passengers and crew, 58 died during the hijacking.
e “Gates plaintis” (appellees) are relatives of two
civilian contractors who in 2004 were kidnapped
by al Qaeda in Iraq and brutally killed.
Both groups of plaintis obtained large
judgments against the Syrian Arab Republic,
and sought to attach certain Syrian funds in the
Northern District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Section 1610(g) (allowing attachment of assets
in the U.S. belonging to foreign states and their
agencies and instrumentalities to execute judgments
based on state-sponsored terrorism).
e Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
(FSIA) expressly allows civil claims against
foreign governments (including their agencies
and instrumentalities) for acts of state-sponsored
terrorism. See 28 U.S.C. Section 1605A. Should
a judgment result, the successful plainti may

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