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Press Release

Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department’s Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) today celebrates its 10-year anniversary of providing specialized assistance to U.S. citizen victims and their families when they are injured or killed in terrorist attacks abroad, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin. 

OVT was founded on May 6, 2005, by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  It is now part of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, which was created in 2006.  OVT’s primary responsibility to Americans who are victims of overseas terrorism is to work to ensure that investigation and prosecution remain a high priority.  OVT also updates victims and their families on the progress of any criminal investigation and prosecution, and ensures that the rights of victims and their families are treated with honor and respect by criminal justice systems around the world.  The office has worked to provide support to U.S. victims of terrorist attacks in many nations, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Iraq, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines, among others.   

“The Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism serves as an advocate for our citizens impacted by terrorism as they navigate foreign criminal justice systems in pursuit of accountability,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “I applaud the work they have done over the last decade to aid hundreds of victims and their families, and look forward to continuing to support their office as they provide such critical resources to American victims of terrorism overseas and their families.”

“OVT is truly a groundbreaking office in the Department of Justice,” said Director Heather Cartwright of OVT.  “Victims themselves identified the need and called for the creation of an office devoted to advocating for justice for U.S. citizens who suffer terrorist attacks in foreign countries.   Ten years after its creation, OVT has developed an advocacy program to support these victims, and looks forward to providing even more comprehensive support and services in the future.”

For more information on the important work done by OVT every day, please visit their website.  If you are a U.S. citizen victim of international terrorism or a victim’s family member and you seek information on foreign criminal justice proceedings, OVT can assist you.  Please contact OVT at

Updated May 6, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-561