GCC justice ministers call for common terror law

06 October 2016

The Gulf region is going through a tough times and it requires “unified vision’’

Justice ministers from the GCC have called for increased cooperation within the economic bloc closing ranks to develop a uniform law to combat terrorism within the six member states.

“Our region is going through a time that needs a unified vision in order to face challenges surrounding us, and we need to stand together to confront them,’’ Riyadh-based Arab News quoted Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Justice Walid al-Samaani, who chaired the 28th ministerial meeting of the regional justice ministers, as saying.

The common law to tackle terrorism was at the top of the agenda along with extradition of accused and convicts and rules to combat trafficking in the region.

The meeting also criticised the US law, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which was overwhelmingly passed by the United State Senate and Congress last week.

Kuwaiti Minister of Justice Yaqoub al-Sanea said that the JASTA poses challenges and risks to the GCC states and it requires forming a special team, tasked with considering the impact of the law.

“The bill violates the principles of international law and all international norms, as well as the principle of sovereign equality between states enshrined in the UN Charter,” the paper quoted Saudi minister Al-Samaani as recently saying.

He also warned of the dangers of politicising laws, and said the adoption of this bill assumed that American judiciary could prosecute anyone in the world, which is a serious breach of the rules and basic principles of international law.

Riyadh has been critical of US for adopting JASTA which allows US citizens to sue Saudi government over the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York. The Cabinet said the law is of great concern to the international community and could affect all countries.

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