Kendall Coffey: Prosecution for Terrorist Funding
Funding for the brutal operations of the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS, reportedly includes a million dollars a day from sales of oil taken from captured territories. The U.S. has threatened “powerful and international sanctions” against those who purchase oil from ISIS. Rather than just economic sanctions, though, consideration shall be given to criminally prosecuting the oil buyers under U.S. statutes that outlaw providing material support or resources to designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Some U.S. terrorism laws include exterritorial jurisdiction authorizing prosecution for entirely foreign-based conduct if there are certain U.S.-connected results. Violence toward a U.S. citizen – like those who have been cruelly murdered by ISIS – could potentially provide jurisdiction for U.S. prosecution. If individuals can be identified who knowingly made oil purchases funding the terrorist agenda of ISIS, those individuals might be considered for very serious federal crimes, even though there could be complicated issues of arrest and extradition.
Past arrests and prosecution have demonstrated to the world that federal prison is no idle threat for terrorists and their financiers. If ISIS buyers can be identified in order to consider economic sanctions, they can be investigated for purposes of criminal prosecution.