Flatow Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Flatow Amendment is an amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 passed in 1996, which allows American victims of terrorism to sue countries that are designated as terrorism sponsors.[1] The legislation establishes that foreign state sponsors of terrorism “shall be liable to a United States national … for personal injury or death caused by acts of that [party]….”[2]

It is named after Stephen Flatow, whose daughter Alisa Flatow was killed in a suicide bombing attack carried out by militants belonging to the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine in 1995.[3] After her death, Flatow commenced a series of lawsuits against the Iranian government.[4][5]

US Courts are thus authorized to award money damages to said victims. The executive branch, however, has often resisted paying these judgments from frozen terrorist state assets by arguing that it would hamper presidential ability to conduct foreign affairs.[6]


  1. ^ Keller, Joseph. "The Flatow, Amendment and State-Sponsored Terrorism." Seatle UL Rev. 28 (2004): 1029.
  2. ^ Lipowsky, Josh. "The Cost Of Terrorism: Victims Fight Back In Court". Forbes. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ Mike Kelly. (July 1, 2014). "The father who never gave up". The Record. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "BNP's $8.9 Billion Fine All Started With A Father's Investigation Into A Terrorist Bombing And A Persian Rug Shop". Business Insider. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Finding Justice for Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism
  6. ^ "International Law - Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act - D.C. Circuit Holds That an International Agreement Bars Former Hostages' Suit against Iran, Despite Legislation Aimed at Aiding the Suit. - Roeder v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 333 F.3d 228 (D.C. Cir. 2003)". Harvard Law Review. 117 (2): 743. 2003. doi:10.2307/3651955. ISSN 0017-811X.