Victims of US Embassy explosion demand award from French bank
- The victims through the Katiba Institute applied to the High Court for an order directing Kenya to seek redress from the French bank and Sudan within six months.
- The compensation relates to Al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people.
- They link their complaint to the bank’s admission in a US court of having violated economic sanctions against Sudan, accused of harboring al-Qaeda, mainly in the 1990s.
Victims of the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi are seeking a court order to compel the attorney general to seek compensation from France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, and from Sudan.
Victims through the Katiba Institute have asked the High Court for an order directing Kenya to seek redress from the French bank and Sudan within six months in a lawsuit that could spark tensions diplomatic.
The compensation relates to Al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people.
They link their complaint to the bank’s admission in a US court of having violated economic sanctions against Sudan, accused of harboring al-Qaeda, mainly in the 1990s.
They cited a US court finding that without Sudan’s support al-Qaeda could not have carried out the attacks.
Close ties between Khartoum and BNP Paribas – which has been accused of functioning as the “central bank of the government of Sudan” – put the French lender in difficulty, forcing it to settle $ 8.9 billion ($ 957 billion). shillings) with the US authorities.
Some of the money went to people injured by Sudan, but excluded victims of the 1998 US Embassy bombings for legal reasons.
“An order addressed to the Attorney General to within six months … obtain compensation for victims from the assets of Al-Qaeda and BNP Paribas SA, a global financial institution headquartered in Paris,” says the petition before the High Court of Kenya.
“File an international legal action for the compensation of all victims and their families against the Republic of Sudan.”
In March, it was announced that Sudan had paid $ 335 million (36 billion shillings) in compensation for victims of past attacks on US targets.
But the deal – a key condition set by the United States for Sudan to be removed from its list of states that support terrorism – only includes punitive damages for the families of the victims or injured who are nationals. Americans or employees of the American Embassy.
The majority of the estimated 5,000 people injured in the two bombings that hit the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998 will not receive any money. Neither have the families of the more than 200 residents who died in the explosions.
Each US victim or family of the US Embassy attacks will receive $ 3 million (322 million shillings), while locally employed staff will receive $ 400,000 (43 million shillings), US media reported.
In total, 85 survivors or families of victims will be compensated.
Sudan admitted guilt in the attacks after being accused of providing Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden with technical and financial support in the 1990s.
Its removal from the American blacklist allows the country to obtain much needed debt relief, foreign investment and loans from international financial institutions.
“The petitioners are unhappy that while the United States of America has sought compensation for the assets of Al Qaeda and BNP Paribas for its citizens, Kenya has not wanted to compensate the Kenyan victims,” said Kenyan victims in court documents.
The French banking giant has faced multiple lawsuits and investigations into its financial relations with Sudan.
Last year, Paris prosecutors opened an investigation into BNP Paribas into allegations of complicity in crimes against humanity in Sudan.
The investigation came after nine Sudanese plaintiffs, who said they were victims of violations of their rights by the government of ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, filed a complaint against BNP Paribas.
The complainants allege that the French bank was complicit in crimes against humanity because it provided financial services to the Sudanese government.
They claim that in a US sanctions violation case, the US Department of Justice described BNP Paribas as Sudan’s de facto central bank from 1997 to 2007 because it gave the Sudanese government access to international money markets and the means to pay the personnel, the army and the security. forces.