Blackwater Guards Accused of Killing Could Be Immune From Prosecution
October 21, 2010
(ChattahBox U.S. News) – It takes far more than a statement from the accused to prosecute Blackwater personnel implicated of committing killings in Iraq and Afghanistan while working under contract with the U.S. State Department.
Although the U.S. has worked for several years to try and prosecute at least eight Blackwater staffers who were working in the war zone over the past several years, most of the cases have not materialized. That’s not because attorneys haven’t done their jobs—it has more to do with the fact that Blackwater personnel are working in a “legal vacuum,” the New York Times reports.In some cases, the accused Blackwater workers gave statements about the crimes while under immunity agreements. In addition, they all claimed to have been operating in self-defense. Even more damning for prosecutors, foreign contractors were immune from prosecution under Iraqi law until last year, and were not subject to prosecution under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act because they were working under a State Department contract.
As Congress tries to sort out how issues such as these can in actuality ever be prosecuted, the government is abandoning some of the cases. The Justice Dept. announced on Monday that it would drop murder charges against a Blackwater armorer accused of killing a guard in Iraq in 2006. This followed the government’s 2009 dismissal of charges against five Blackwater guards who were involved in a Baghdad shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, the Times notes.