The US District Court in the District of Columbia has entered a final judgment against the Syrian Arab Republic for $302,522,836.00, in favour of the next of kin of Marie Colvin, the famed American war correspondent, who was killed in a targeted Syrian attack on a media centre, where journalists were broadcasting from. Other individuals also died; the attack took place at the Baba Amr Media Center in Homs in 2012.
The plaintiffs brought this suit pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, alleging that her death constitutes an extrajudicial killing in violation of the Act. In a 36-page opinion, redacted for public viewing*, the Court detailed the actions of the Syrian Government, including the fact that they later celebrated her death.
The Court found, as a matter of law:
(1) That it had jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' FSIA claims.
(2) That preconditions for an FSIA claim had been met.
(3) That it has both subject-matter and personal jurisdiction.
(4) Liability had been proven with evidence satisfactory to the Court.
(5) The defendant caused the death of Marie Colvin.
(6) It was an act of terrorism.
(7) The plaintiffs were entitled to economic and punitive damages and Solatium.
$300m of the judgment was for punitive damages. Press reports indicate that the plaintiffs' counsel expects to recover on the judgment by seizing Syrian assets overseas.
* The identity of the informant, who located Colvin for the Syria Government, has been redacted, as well as any information that may lead to his or her identification.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant