Hamas' Financial Supporters Could be Sued under New Law

Published: April 23rd 2010
in News » Local

The Honourable Peter Kent

A new bill proposed by the Canadian government will allow victims of terror attacks and their families to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism.


The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act was introduced by Minister of Public Safety  Vic Toews, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles Daniel Petit, and Senator David Tkachuk. It was introduced as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to fight terrorism.


The bill would allow victims of terror attacks and their families to bring lawsuits forward against perpetrators and supporters of terrorism for terrorist attacks committed anywhere in the world on or after January 1, 1985.


In a conversation with Shalom Life, the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Americas and MP for the riding of Thornhill, explained about the importance of the proposed law: “The important thing is that it allows families or surviving victims of terrorist acts to sue the perpetrators, whether they’re individuals, groups, or actual foreign states that seem to have sponsored or have been actively involved in acts of terrorism, and most important in domestic terms is that it allows civil prosecution of those who make financial contributions to individuals, groups, or states that carry out acts of terrorism.”


Kent added that since the law will be retroactive to 1985 it would allow relatives of victims of large terror attacks such as the Air India bombing (Canada’s largest terrorist act ever) or the September 11 terror attacks to seek redress and compensation in civil legal action.


The bill states that “as long as the victims can demonstrate that the defendant provided support to an entity listed pursuant to the Criminal Code that committed the terrorist act” a lawsuit can be brought forward, and adds that “there must be a sufficient connection between the claim and Canada”.


“In the case of, for example, Air India or the bombing of the twin towers in New York, if a Canadian is a victim of a terrorist act and someone associated with that is the funding financial support or the act itself – for example, in the case of Air India placing the bomb on the airliner in Canada – then civil action and compensation can be sought,” explained Kent. “In the case of a hypothetical foreign situation if a Canadian were killed by a hypothetical bus bombing in a certain country and the perpetrators can be identified either as individuals or groups or a state organization, then again this law would enable Canadians to pursue compensation in civil action and legal action.”


He added that while it is uncertain if the law would include permanent residents as well as Canadian citizens, he suspects that it likely will. “Basically it gives victims a voice through Canadian courts, so I suspect that anyone living in Canada who is considered a victim in some way of an identified terrorist act by an identified listed terrorist body then they could seek justice.”


Related articles: (Peter Kent, The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood)
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