WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Both chambers of the US Congress voted this week to override President Barack Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The law permits Americans to sue foreign governments believed to be sponsors of terrorism. It was the first congressional override of Obama’s presidency.
"The legislation… will make it harder for US military personnel who have committed rapes in Okinawa, the Philippines, South Korea and elsewhere to go scot free," scientist and political analyst Professor John Walsh said.
The White House claimed that the legislation could expose US diplomats and servicemen to litigation in other countries.
However, Walsh observed that the legislation would make it more difficult for US diplomats and senior officials to openly participate in the destabilization and overthrow of other governments.
"If a US ambassador or politician is caught in the midst of a regime change demonstration, as in Ukraine in 2014 or in Syria, he or she could be in serious trouble."
The legislation therefore has the potential to restrain or curtail the increasingly open US meddling in the internal affairs of other nations, Walsh explained, proving "very problematic for the US empire."
Independent Institute Center for Peace and Democracy Director Ivan Eland also welcomed the new legislation.
"This bill is a good development. Americans should have the right to sue foreign governments if responsible for harmful behavior that adversely affects them," Eland said.
"Yet why isn't that also just?" Eland asked. "To the extent that this bill potentially would further raise the costs — as if they are not already high enough in money and lives — of US interventions overseas, perhaps it could cut down their frequency at the margins," Eland suggested.
If the bill succeeds in eroding the concept of sovereign immunity for the United States government, "maybe US citizens will have more options to sue their own government at home to hold it more accountable for bad actions," Eland remarked.
JASTA was approved over Obama’s veto by a vote of 97 to 1 in the US Senate, and 348 to 77 in the House of Representatives, far in excess of the two-thirds majority needed in both chambers to override a presidential veto.
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