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Acree v. Republic of Iraq

370 F.3d 41 (2004)

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Acree v. Republic of Iraq

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

370 F.3d 41 (2004)

Facts

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) granted foreign countries immunity in American courts. The FSIA contained an exception, however, for claims for money damages against a foreign country for injuries or death caused by terrorist acts. The exception applied only if the defendant-country had been found to have sponsored terrorism. Colonel Clifford Acree and 16 other American soldiers were captured by the Republic of Iraq (defendant) during the Gulf War. In April 2002, these soldiers and their families (the soldiers) (plaintiffs) sued Iraq for injuries sustained during their capture. The complaint alleged that the injuries were the result of torture and other terrorist acts. The district court found in favor of the soldiers and awarded over $959 million in damages. In April 2003, the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act (EWSAA) authorized the president to make inapplicable any provision in the Iraq Sanctions Act of 1990 (ISA). The ISA largely involved economic sanctions on Iraq. The EWSAA contained eight provisos, each of which was responsive to the ISA in some way. The second of the eight provisos authorized the president to make inapplicable to Iraq one section of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 “or any other provision of law” that applied to countries that had supported terrorism. In May 2003, the president stated that he believed this proviso applied to the FSIA exception for money-damage claims, thus attempting to provide Iraq immunity from the suit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Edwards, J.)

Concurrence (Roberts, J.)

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