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H.Con.Res. 345 (eh) [Engrossed in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. CON. RES. 344

  Expressing the sense of the Congress that American prisoners of war 
  (POWs) during the 1991 Gulf War and their immediate family members 
 should be adequately compensated, without delay, for their suffering 
  and injury, as decided by the United States District Court for the 
                         District of Columbia.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 21, 2003

   Mr. Meeks of New York (for himself and Mr. Conyers) submitted the 
following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on 
                        International Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


 
  Expressing the sense of the Congress that American prisoners of war 
  (POWs) during the 1991 Gulf War and their immediate family members 
 should be adequately compensated, without delay, for their suffering 
  and injury, as decided by the United States District Court for the 
                         District of Columbia.

Whereas the treatment of American prisoners of war (POWs) during 1991 Gulf War 
        by the Republic of Iraq and its intelligence service, at the direction 
        of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, constituted ``torture,'' as required 
        to support exercise of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign 
        Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) over claims by the POWs and their 
        immediate family members for compensatory and punitive damages for 
        injuries allegedly suffered as result of such treatment;
Whereas the POWs constantly feared torture and death as a direct result of 
        severe physical and mental abuse; they were systematically starved, 
        denied sleep, and exposed to freezing cold; they were denied medical 
        care and their existing injuries were intentionally aggravated; they 
        were shocked with electrical devices and confined in dark, filthy 
        conditions exposing them to contagion and infection; they suffered 
        serious physical injuries, including broken bones, perforated eardrums, 
        nerve damage infections, nausea, severe weight loss, massive bruises, 
        and other injuries; and they were denied requests to notify family 
        members that they were alive, were forced to participate in propaganda 
        tapes, were denied the right to be inspected by the Red Cross, and were 
        used as props in public announcements that POWs would be used as human 
        shields;
Whereas these acts of torture intentionally inflicted severe and lasting 
        emotional distress;
Whereas these acts of torture were carried out by officials, employees, or 
        agents of the Republic of Iraq, acting within scope of their office or 
        employment;
Whereas the refusal of the Republic of Iraq and its intelligence service to 
        comply with Iraq's legal obligation under the Geneva Convention to 
        permit the POWs to write to their families to inform them of their 
        capture and state of their health constituted intentional infliction of 
        emotional stress on the family members of the POWs, also cognizable in 
        an action under the FSIA;
Whereas the United States District Court for the District of Columbia found, in 
        an action brought under the torture exception of the FSIA against the 
        Republic of Iraq, its president, and its intelligence service, that the 
        POWs subjected to torture during 1991 Gulf War were entitled to 
        compensatory damages;
Whereas the court also found that the POWs were entitled to compensatory damages 
        for pain and suffering, during the period following captivity, as the 
        POWs attempted to return to normal life, in amounts in multiple millions 
        of dollars;
Whereas the court found that the wives of the POWs were entitled to compensatory 
        damages for mental anguish and solatium during the periods in which 
        their husbands were in captivity, and for mental anguish and emotional 
        distress following the release of POWs, and the court found that the 
        children, parents, and siblings of the POWs were entitled to 
        compensatory damages for mental anguish and solatium;
Whereas the court also found that an award of punitive damages to the POWs was 
        warranted because of the exceedingly heinous nature of the acts of 
        torture against the POWs, and the severe and continuing harm to the POWs 
        caused by the reprehensible acts inflicted on them, and because--

    (1) the use of torture against the handcuffed and blindfolded POWs 
resulted in unrestrained savagery, causing them to suffer intense, 
justified fear that the Iraqi threats of death and dismemberment would be 
carried out;

    (2) there must be a premium on protecting POWs who are uniquely 
vulnerable to acts of torture;

    (3) deterring torture of POWs should be of the highest priority; and

    (4) punitive damages create incentives for the agencies and 
instrumentalities of terrorist countries to comply with their obligations 
not to torture POWs: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That--
            (1) American prisoners of war (POWs) during the 1991 Gulf 
        War were brutally tortured by the Republic of Iraq and its 
        intelligence service, at the direction of Iraqi President 
        Saddam Hussein, and thereby suffered severe physical trauma and 
        emotional abuse;
            (2) United States civilians stationed in the Persian Gulf 
        region before and during Operation Desert Storm were taken 
        hostage by the Republic of Iraq and its intelligence service, 
        at the direction of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and used as 
        so-called ``human shields'', experiencing brutal threats to 
        their personal safety and emotional being;
            (3) no one would subject himself or herself for any price 
        to the terror, torment, and pain experienced by the POWs during 
        the 1991 Gulf War and their immediate family members;
            (4) there is no monetary award that could adequately 
        compensate these individuals for their suffering and the 
        resulting permanent injury;
            (5) the Congress has previously recognized and authorized 
        the right of United States citizens, including the POWs and 
        ``human shields'', to hold terrorist states such as Iraq liable 
        for injuries to United States citizens;
            (6) United States district courts have been authorized to 
        adjudicate such cases;
            (7) notwithstanding section 1503 of the Emergency Wartime 
        Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2003, the President should 
        take action, through the liquidation of blocked Iraqi assets or 
        through other appropriate sources, to ensure that POWs during 
        the 1991 Gulf War and their immediate family members receive, 
        without delay, their just compensation as awarded by the United 
        States District Court for the District of Columbia; and
            (8) the Congress will continue to oversee the application 
        of section 1503 of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental 
        Appropriations Act of 2003 in order to ensure that it is not 
        misinterpreted, including by divesting United States courts of 
        jurisdiction, with respect to the POWs and other victims of 
        Iraqi terrorism.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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