Supreme Court: Iraq Has Legal Immunity for Actions Under Saddam

2003 US Invasion 'Restored Iraq's Immunity'

The US Supreme Court has ruled today that the 2003 American invasion of Iraq restored the nation’s sovereign immunity from lawsuits in US courts. That being the case, the court threw out lawsuits filed by Americans related to actions of the Saddam Hussein government ousted in the invasion.

US law generally grants immunity to foreign nations from lawsuits in US courts, but that immunity does not apply to nations listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iraq was considered a state sponsor of terror at the time of the incidents, but had that designation removed after the American occupation.

Among those seeking redress in US courts was an American captured along the Iraq-Kuwait border in 1995. Lower courts had awarded them millions in damages from the current Iraqi government for their torture in detention. The Iraqi government had maintained, as the court determined today, that it was not responsible for the actions of the Hussein government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.