Queen's University

Victims of Terrorism Act may do more harm than good

2012-03-02

Queen’s University law professor Hilary Young is available to talk about the federal government’s proposed Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which is part of the government’s omnibus crime bill.

The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which is part of the government’s omnibus crime bill, aims to deter terrorism and compensate victims by making it to bring lawsuits against foreign terrorists and their sponsors. Prof. Young believes the act is laudable but fears it fail to achieve its goals, and risks re-victimizing those who have already suffered at the hands of terrorists.

“The Act would violate both Canadian and international law,” says Prof. Young. “The allegations involved in these kinds of lawsuits will be difficult and expensive to prove in court. Even if a plaintiff succeeds, it is very unlikely that they will ever collect any damages from a resulting award: Terrorist organizations are not legal entities. They do not have assets and bank accounts that can be seized. A victim of terrorism could spend thousands of dollars and several years to sue the person or group that injured her, win at trial, and still never collect a penny. A similar law exists in the U.S. Over 19 billion dollars has been awarded to terrorism victims in U.S. courts and virtually none of it has been collected.”

On Monday, Feb. 20, Prof. Young we will be speaking about the proposed law before the Senate Committee on Legislative Affairs in Ottawa.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or Anne.Craig@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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