'In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001': Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) [May 17, 2016] [open pdf - 641KB]
"Numerous legal and practical obstacles, such as the infeasibility of locating Al Qaeda operatives, stand in the way of victims seeking to establish liability in U.S. courts against, and recover damages from, the terrorists who planned and carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks. Victims, however, have sued numerous individuals and groups with less direct ties to the attackers, including defendants who allegedly provided monetary support to Al Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001. 'In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001', is a consolidated case that includes, among other claims, claims against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, several Saudi princes, a Saudi banker, and a Saudi charity. Plaintiffs argued that these Saudi defendants played a 'critical role' in the September 11 attacks by giving money to Muslim groups, which in turn funded Al Qaeda. In August 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed dismissals of the claims against the Saudi defendants. However, part of the reasoning for the dismissals was later overturned, and the plaintiffs were permitted a second chance to bring their suit against the Saudi government and government-owned charity. This effort also failed on sovereign immunity grounds at the district court, however, and is once again on appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This report explains the legal bases for the dismissals and provides an update to the status of the case."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34726
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html