Home | News    Tuesday 2 June 2020

U.S. victims of 1998 embassy bombings push for concluding settlement deal with Sudan


June 2, 2020 (WASHINGTON) – The families of American victims of the 1998 twin embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania are throwing their full support behind a proposed settlement agreement with Sudan that would lead to more than $300 million payout in return for ending the pending lawsuits and removing the country from the US list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The blast on August 7, 1998 at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killed more than 200 people. Kenyan security guards keep watch on August 8, 1998, at the scene of explosion. (CNN)

“As a longtime advocate and spokesperson for the families of the 12 Americans killed in these bombings, I am speaking publicly to support the administration’s diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with Sudan’s new government to resolve all of the claims we and others — Americans, Tanzanians and Kenyans — have pursued in court in the years since the attacks,” Edith Bartley wrote in the Washington Post.

“The search for justice is very personal to me. My father, Julian L. Bartley, the first African American consul general to serve our country in Kenya, was a highly respected career diplomat. My younger brother, Julian L. Bartley Jr., was a college student and summer intern at the Nairobi embassy. Both were killed in the terrorist attack. This was an unimaginable loss to me and my mother as my father and brother were half of my immediate family”.

U.S. courts held Sudan legally liable for the bombings because it hosted al-Qaeda terrorists in the 1990’s who carried out the attacks.

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court revived the possibility of collecting $4.3 billion in punitive damage claims from Sudan on the embassy bombings on top of another $6 billion awarded previously. It also refused an appeal by Sudan to review the lower court rulings on its responsibility for the bombings and the liability it poses.

U.S. officials afterwards confirmed that a provisional agreement was reached with Khartoum to compensate the victims including non-Americans nationals who were also killed and injured.

Bartley acknowledged that the proposed compensation falls short of the court rulings but said that the deal “is modelled on the agreement with Libya reached in 2008 by President George W. Bush and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice”.

“Indeed, the Sudan proposal goes far beyond the Libya model by paying compensation to foreign nationals and family members who have been excluded from international claims agreements in the past” she added.

“We, the families of those Americans whose lives were cut short in August 1998, believe that the administration has been forthright with us in explaining the complex practical and legal obstacles it faces to resolve these claims and the need to support the new civilian government of Sudan. We believe that the administration has pressed Sudan hard and that the resulting bilateral agreement will provide a measure of justice for all the victims and families”.

It is believed that this agreement would pave the way for delisting Sudan from the terror list but the Congress would have to approve it and pass a resolution reinstating Sudan’s sovereign immunity to prevent future lawsuits related to the terror bombings.

But the deal could be derailed by the African victims who insist on being treated the same as their American counterparts.

One of the representatives by the name of Eric Sapp issued a statement last week saying that the agreement “would set up a discriminatory payment structure whereby Sudan would be allowed to pay victims based on their nation of birth, rather than severity of injury”.

“This would allow Sudan to avoid paying 1/3 of embassy bombing judgment holders entirely and would allow Sudan to pay African American citizen victims 25x less of their judgment on average than white American victims holders”.

Doreen Oport, who worked at the embassy in Kenya and was injured in the attack, said in a statement on behalf of similarly situated African victims that they presented a plan to Sudan and the U.S. State Department “that would allow Sudan to extend out payment of our judgments so that it can take advantage of the many economic opportunities that will arise once it is removed from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List."

But Stuart Newberger, a Crowell & Moring LLP partner representing some of the American victims of the embassy bombings defended the deal saying that the US State Department made efforts to resolve claims of foreign nationals.

"Normally, the U.S. government can only settle claims for U.S. citizens, but it has gone out of its way to get funds for non-American citizens who either worked for the embassy or worked for contractors of the embassy," Newberger said in statements carried by Law360 website.

Many of the victims, who were diplomats, government employees and aid workers, understand the need for diplomacy at this pivotal moment for Sudan, Newberger said.

Matthew D. McGill, a Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP partner who has been representing a number of American and Tanzanian victims said that they appreciate the significance of Sudan agreeing to strike a deal.

"For many of the victims and their families, it is very personally meaningful to have Sudan pay, even if it’s not the full amount," McGill told Law360.

Bartley said they have also witnessed “a willingness on the part of the new Sudanese government to distance itself from the terrorist conduct of its criminal predecessor”.

It remains to be seen how Sudan will arrange for the settlement money given the dire economic situation and amid reports that Arab Gulf states were cool to the idea of helping.

Adding to the complication is that Sudan has virtually no assets in the U.S. that can be seized to satisfy the judgements.

Analysts worry that unless the U.S. moves to delist Sudan in the coming months, the transitional government formed under a power sharing deal between the civilians and the military could quickly unravel throwing the entire country into turmoil.

The U.S. administration of President Bill Clinton added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 over allegations that then-President Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist government was supporting terrorist groups.


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  • 3 June 04:46, by Langaar

    "US victims of 1998 embassy bombings push for concluding settlement deal with Sudan"
    What the world is coming to? A terrorist organization called *the US is blackmailing another terrorist country----the cloned so-called arab North Sudan* There you go!. Omar Hassan El Bashir was slickly removed by these vermins>>>>>

    • 3 June 04:51, by Langaar

      and gave low lives from Darfur, Northern Nigeria and some of their creeps in between here in the IGAD and the AU to go and dance in our ’El Khartoum and hope that Mr. Omar Hassan El Bashir had been removed from power in the Sudan, their foolish South Sudanese would want to be *re-united with their so-called North Sudanese brothers*??!!>>>>

      • 3 June 04:58, by Langaar

        Good luck to our enemies who covet our county and our people, dreaming is not a crime. In fact the opposite would be ’glaringly true’. Let any piece of trash bring *any evil juus (so-called israel), Darfuris, Abeshas (so-called ethiopians), Bantuses, white Americans, English people, Indians, their UN and their sleazy NGOs into our country and lives again, and that piece of trash would>>>>

        • 3 June 05:08, by Langaar

          be as *good as dead*, reasons, pure HATRED and RACISM. What food the low lives in Kenya grow? "maizes/corns and what else?" We have been informing our fools. That in our Gamella region, our Anyuaks community were removed by the Abeshas (so-called ethiopians) prostitutes with the so-called *world bank and IMF* to grow their food in our>>>

          • 3 June 05:17, by Langaar

            own Gambell region. The food that is grown in our Gambella region is exported to *gulf Arab states, some European countries, Asia and other countries*. Where do low lives think, the creeps in Middle East get their food from? Oh well, South Sudanese are dying of hunger, diseases, the most poorest---and all. Really?!!. We have a lot of ’cattle here in South Sudan’ than Uganda, Kenya, most of Abesh>

            • 3 June 05:25, by Langaar

              (so-called ethiopia), our cloned so-called arab North Sudan. But South Sudan is where these vermins always *project evil lenses 24/7*. Lowly informed South Sudanese losers. Our country is not like ’Somalia’. Where the CIA and former president of Kenya, Mr. Daniel Toritich Arap Moi once played game with on behave of evil white Americans, their evil juus (so-called israelis) in *Somalian countries*>

              • 3 June 05:36, by Langaar

                of Garrisa, Mandera, Eastleigh, or Mombasa. A lot bloody nose fools. Islam is not a religion, but a pure fantasy. Listen hard low lives. There will not be Saudi Arabia, so-called evil juus (so-called israel), Djibouti, half of Abesh (so-called ethiopia), all the French legions in Djibouti, Central Africa Repulic (C.A.R), Chad, North Sudan, South Africa, Mozambique>>>

                • 3 June 05:41, by Langaar

                  and all the Indians, English people and their Bantuses here in South Sudan, reasons, pure HATRED and RACISM.>>>

  • 6 June 14:31, by Fathi

    I don’t give a damn about the payment differences since this was a political a trial, the US had about 4 countries it could pin it on due to the SST, Bashir’s dumbass didn’t pay the lawyers to represent Sudan just like how he didn’t attend the bogus icc trials. This idiot Bashir was sitting on his throne like pharaoh thinking he was untouchable

  • 6 June 14:32, by Fathi

    I don’t give a damn about the payment differences since this was a political a trial, the US had about 4 countries it could pin it on due to the SST, Bashir’s dumbass didn’t pay the lawyers to represent Sudan just like how he didn’t attend the bogus icc trials.

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