The US Senate on Tuesday passed controversial legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to file lawsuits seeking damages from Saudi Arabia.
The move came despite opposition from the White House, which has threatened a veto, Reuters reported.
The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 terror attacks, also strongly object to the bill.
The “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, which was passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote, must next be taken up by the US House of Representatives.
If it becomes law, JASTA will remove the sovereign immunity, preventing lawsuits against governments, for countries found to be involved in terrorist attacks on US soil.
It will allow survivors of the attacks, and relatives of those killed in the attacks, to seek damages from other countries.
The Obama administration is opposed to the legislation as it feels it will leave America vulnerable to similar suits.
Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir has said his country’s objection to the bill is based on principles of international relations.
“What (Congress is) doing is stripping the principle of sovereign immunities which would turn the world for international law into the law of the jungle,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a JASTA co-sponsor, said the bill is overdue.
“Today the Senate has spoken loudly and unanimously that the families of victims of terrorist attacks should be able to hold the perpetrators, even if it’s a country, a nation, accountable,” Schumer told reporters.
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