Tuesday 21 April 2020

Israeli NGO That Fights Terror Files Suit Against China Over Coronavirus

An Israeli NGO that focuses on getting remuneration from terror groups will file a class action lawsuit against China for its negligence regarding the coronavirus, according to N12. 
The Jerusalem Post reported, “Shurat HaDin usually focuses on terror groups, yet according to Aviel Leitner, husband of Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, just as states cannot commit acts of terror and claim immunity due to their being sovereign agents, China should not be able to avoid its own alleged failure in containing the virus.”
“Over 15 years, Shurat HaDin has won about $2 billion in judgments, has frozen more than $600 million in terror assets and collected about $300 million. Operating solely on donations, it provides services to victims for free and is reimbursed only for expenses in cases it wins,” the Cleveland Jewish News reported in August 2019.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner recently secured a ruling holding the Palestinian Authority liable for civil damages for terrorist attacks launched during the Second Intifada. The damages could amount to 1 billion shekels.
Attorney Rachel Weiser, who works for Shirat HaDin, said in August 2019, “We also, behind the scenes, helped to push forward a law that was passed just two or three months ago that said if the Palestinian Authority accepts aid from the United States at all, they also have to accept jurisdiction of our courts. About two or three months ago, the Palestinian Authority said, ‘We’re not accepting aid from the United States.’ That’s why. And that’s okay, because anything we can do to stop the flow of money, it’s been proven time and time again, it slows down the flow of terror.”
The Israeli NGO is not alone in filing a lawsuit against China. “At least four federal class-action lawsuits have been filed against the Chinese government that aim to recover trillions of dollars in damages for what plaintiffs allege is China’s failure to contain the coronavirus outbreak and notify the international community about its dangers,” Newsweek noted.
But Chimène Keitner, a professor of international law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, cautioned that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) gives foreign governments blanket immunity from most lawsuits filed in the United States. She asserted, “The Chinese government, when it is acting in China, does not have any affirmative duties under United States law,” adding, “There’s no doubt China bears a huge deal of blame in the moral sense, and responsibility in the international sense, for not containing this outbreak sooner. But U.S. courts are not in a position to provide individual redress to those harmed here.”
Consrvative lawyer Larry Klayman countered to Newsweek, “The reason China has no immunity is because we allege they violated international conventions and treaties in terms of creating what is, in effect, a biological terrorist weapon… The American people should not have to pay for the damage. Communist China should have to pay for the damage.”
Matthew T. Moore, an attorney who represents the class-action lawsuit from Florida, told Newsweek, “Case law since the FSIA was enacted in 1976 has provided enhancements to the FSIA exemptions, where a foreign state has acted egregiously against the precepts of humanity, and failed to warn about a known danger. The intolerable and direct impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. citizens and businesses are unprecedented, and we know China failed to warn anyone and silenced those who tried. There is a clear path to jurisdiction here.”

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