In the United States, the Supreme Court awards a victory to the victims of the 1998 attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. These al Qaeda attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania left 224 people dead. Since 2001, almost 600 people have demanded that Sudan pay them damages because at the time Khartoum had hosted members of the Islamist movement as well as Osama bin Laden. The case went back to the Supreme Court which confirmed that Khartoum had to pay.
Almost 20 years after the attacks, the victims are now certain of obtaining compensation. The whole debate revolved around a US law of 2008, which regulates the payment of damages, in particular on behalf of a foreign country.
In 2017, an American appellate court ruled that Sudan did not have to compensate the victims, because the attacks took place before the vote on this text. But the Supreme Court found that this law had retroactive effect, and applied well to the attacks of 1998. The case will therefore return to a court to determine an amount.
Mathew McGill, one of the family’s lawyers, said he was satisfied, adding that he had trouble imagining an act deserving of more punitive measures than these attacks.
The stakes in this case are enormous, because the United States refuses to remove Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism, until these compensations are paid. Because he’s on this list, Khartoum is cut off from part of the international financial system, which worsens its already delicate economic situation.
The height of damages is another issue because the amount could reach several billion dollars. The Sudanese Ministry of Justice told him that he ” would work to normalize relations with the United States to free the Sudanese from one of the heaviest legacies of the old regime ”
With our correspondent in Nairobi,