Supreme Court Allows Victims of Acts of Terrorism to Recover from State Sponsors
April 20, 2016
The Supreme Court in Bank Markazi v. Peterson, rejected a challenge by the Central Bank of Iran, also known as Bank Markazi, to rulings permitting certain victims of acts of terrorism sponsored by Iran, and the victims’ relatives and estates, to recover around $2 billion. The law at issue was the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, which Congress passed in 2002 to require the court deciding Peterson to turn over to the plaintiffs in that case certain frozen assets held by the Central Bank of Iran. The Supreme Court held that the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act did not violate separation-of-powers principles by encroaching on the judicial branch’s power to decide the cases before it. Many of Iran’s victims—including more than 80 victims, relatives, and estates represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Karsman, McKenzie & Hart—have been denied the same ability as the Peterson victims to obtain compensation from Iran.