Washington, DC In September 2007, four employees of a private US security company began a complicated legal process for convicting 14 Iraqi nationals in Baghdad.
U.S. prosecutors say they are armed Blackwater Contractors were charged with felony criminal mischief for firing indiscriminately on civilians in a traffic jam and firing machine guns at two children. Machine guns and grenades were used.
All four U.S. military veterans have been sentenced to long prison terms.
But US President Donald Trump immediately called off the move Forgiveness Earlier this week, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Alvin Slough, Evan Shawn Liberty and Dustin Laurent Heard called lawyers and human rights defenders what they described as a lack of justice.
“This amnesty is an insult to justice and an insult to victims who have been waiting for years to see the extent of justice,” said Sarah Howinsky, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.
Slatten came after years of legal proceedings involving reviews Imprisonment In 2019, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed al-Rubia’y, a 19-year-old medical student, was forced to live in prison without a secret for his murder, and drove his mother to make an appointment when he died.
Three other Blackwater contractors were convicted of involuntary manslaughter; He was convicted of murder and other charges in 2014. They were sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison after the appeal and appeal.
The killings, which Blackwater staff escorted to US vehicles in the Iraqi capital, sparked international outcry and raised questions about the ethics of using private security contractors in American wars abroad.
Holewinski said two boys under the age of 12 were victims in Nisour Square that day
We saw the rule of law when the US Department of Justice prosecuted these people. “Now there is a complete contempt for Trump’s rule of law.”
– စာ ရာ (Holewinski) Yager (@HolewinskiSarah) December 23, 2020
Litigation in the long court
Prosecutors representing more than 30 victims have traveled from Iraq to the United States to prove their crimes against Blackwater contractors.
They recount the horrors of the past 13 years, when 17 Iraqis were killed and at least 30 wounded 13 years ago. The FBI convicted them of using force to kill 14 people.
In court, contractors’ defense groups said the men shot and killed people after an ambush by armed fighters.
Blackwater, now renamed Academi, was founded by Trump’s ally Erik Prince and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It was one of the few private military companies hired to assist the US military in Iraq after the 2003 invasion and occupation.
The Brookings Institution quoted the Department of Defense as saying He said In 2007, a large number of companies in Iraq hired nearly 160,000 US private contractors – almost total. No. The number of American soldiers at that time.
“These veterans worked as security contractors responsible for the security of US personnel in Iraq in 2007,” Trump acknowledged. Announcement On Tuesday, about Blackwater staff.
“As the convoy tried to build a blockade outside the green zone, the situation worsened and Iraqi civilians were killed and injured,” he said.
Prosecutor Paul Dickensinson, who was involved in prosecuting the six refugees who fled the court in 2010 and their families, said the amnesty was a “slap in the face” for victims.
Dickinson told Al Jazeera what he did for the people of Iraq about two days ago.
During this time all efforts of the FBI and federal prosecutors disappeared.
The US government will fight for them. People are being held accountable for the crimes they commit.
Dickinson said Blackwater contractors often violated the rules of engagement with Iraq, beating cars and buildings and often disrespecting locals. For many Iraqis, it is difficult to distinguish between the US military and private contractors.
Ali al-Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission, said the amnesty was a blow to Iraqi victims who believed in the US justice system and weakened the US position in the protracted conflict.
“The world sees the United States as a powerful force for democracy and human rights.
“The president of the United States has abused his power and authority,” he said, adding that the amnesty violated justice and tarnished “America’s image” in Iraq and abroad.
Trump is part of a string of Blackwater decisions Forgiveness Allies and loyalists who were released from office during his last weeks. He released nearly 50 people last week.
Al-Bayati said he hoped President-elect Joe Biden would lift the Blackwater contract amnesty, which opens Jan. 20.
“I hope the next president will change the way the international community and the United States act in front of Iraq,” he said.
Blackwater amnesty, meanwhile, continues to rage between civil society and human rights advocates in the United States, citing Trump’s neglect of their rule of law.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the United States Council, said in a statement that “President Trump’s decision to grant amnesty to the four massacres shows a great respect for our legal system and the sanctity of human life,” a statement from Islamic Relations (CAIR) said.
“These Blackwater mercenaries have been convicted of committing a notorious war crime during the occupation of Iraq.” Forgiveness is an outrageous act. ”