“Koby Mandell” Office Of Justice For Victims Of Overseas Terrorism Opens After Three-Year ZOA Initiated Campaign
June 1, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) commends U. S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales for moving forward with the mandates of the Koby Mandell Act and the opening of the new office of the Justice Department which will focus on the capture of Palestinian Arabs and other foreign nationals who have harmed or murdered U.S. citizens. (The Act was named after a 13-year old American from Maryland who was brutally murdered by Palestinian Arabs several years ago. He is one of 52 Americans murdered by Palestinian Arabs since the Oslo process began in 1993.) The establishment of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism was recently announced by Gonzales. The office, made possible by the ZOA-initiated Koby Mandell Act passed in 2004, was created to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of Palestinian-Arab terrorist attacks against American citizens abroad is given greater priority by the Department of Justice.

The new office will be established under the auspices of John C. Richter, the acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Richter is to appoint a senior official to serve as Director. The FBI, along with the Criminal Division’s Counter-Terrorism Section, the Office of International Affairs and the Office of Enforcement Operations, will provide liaisons to the new office. According to a release by the Department of Justice, the office will be responsible for, “monitoring the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against Americans abroad; working with the Criminal Division’s Victim-Witness Coordinator, the FBI, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and other departmental components to ensure that the rights of victims and their families are honored and respected; establishing a Joint Task Force with the Department of State; compiling pertinent data and statistics, responding to Congressional and citizen inquiries on the Department’s response to terrorist attacks on Americans overseas; and filing any necessary reports with Congress.” Said Attorney General Gonzales, “This new office guarantees a voice for victims and their families in the investigation and prosecution of terrorists who prey on Americans overseas. Our commitment to these victims is as strong as our dedication to bringing their terrorist attackers to justice.”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “We wish to express our strong appreciation to Attorney General Gonzales for moving this process forward, and taking a critical anti-terrorism step to capture all foreign nationals, including Palestinian Arabs, who have murdered or harmed Americans overseas.

The ZOA would also like to thank Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) who introduced the bill in the Senate, and House Members Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Jim Saxton (R.-NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Henry Waxman (D-CA), Edward Schrock (R-VA), Mark Souder (R-IN), and Joe Wilson (R-SC), who introduced the bill in the House. Their strong support of this effort is deeply appreciated.

“We hope this office can begin to rectify the disappointing lack of U.S. pursuit of Palestinian Arab killers compared to the pursuit of non-Palestinian Arab killers of American citizens.”

The opening of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism marks the culmination of a ZOA legislative effort that began in 2001.

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