Summary: H.R.2222 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (10/06/1992)

Antiterrorism Act of 1992 - Amends the Federal criminal code to define the term "international terrorism" to include activities that: (1) involve violent acts that are a violation of Federal or State laws, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; (2) appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping; and (3) occur primarily outside U.S. territorial jurisdiction or transcend national boundaries.

Authorizes any U.S. national injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism to bring a civil action in U.S. district court and recover treble damages and the cost of the suit, including attorney's fees. Specifies that a final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the United States in certain classes of criminal proceedings (such as those involving the murder of a foreign official, kidnapping, hostage taking, killing of a U.S. national, or an aircraft piracy-related offense) or in favor of any foreign state in a criminal proceeding to the extent that such judgment or decree may be accorded full faith and credit under U.S. law shall estop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in a subsequent civil proceeding under this Act.

Sets forth provisions with respect to jurisdiction and venue for, and limitation of, such civil actions, including a prohibition on such actions for injury or loss by reason of an act of war.

Authorizes the Attorney for the Government, if a party to such an action seeks to discover the investigative files of the Department of Justice, to object on the ground that compliance will interfere with a criminal investigation or prosecution of the incident, or with a national security operation related to the incident, which is the subject of the civil litigation. Requires the court to: (1) evaluate any objections raised by the Government in camera; (2) stay the discovery if it finds that granting the discovery request will substantially interfere with a criminal investigation or prosecution of the incident or operation; and (3) consider the likelihood of criminal prosecution by the Government and other factors it deems appropriate. Specifies that such a stay shall constitute a bar to the granting of a motion to dismiss under Rules 12(b)(6) and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Authorizes the Attorney General to intervene for the purpose of seeking a stay of such action. Requires that a stay be granted if the court finds that the continuation of the action will substantially interfere with a criminal prosecution which involves the same subject matter and in which an indictment has been returned or with national security operations related to the terrorist incident that is the subject of the civil action. Permits a stay to be granted for up to six months. Allows the Attorney General to petition the court for an extension of the stay for additional six-month periods until the criminal prosecution is completed or dismissed and to request that any order issued by the court for release to the parties and the public omit any reference to the basis on which the stay was sought.

Prohibits such suits against the Federal Government or a foreign government, a Federal or foreign agency, or employee thereof acting within his or her official capacity or under color of legal authority.

Grants the U.S. district courts exclusive jurisdiction over actions brought pursuant to this Act.