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Blackwater Sued for Killing Iraqi Civilians

Victims filed a claim on 10 October against Blackwater USA, the private military contractor whose heavily armed personnel allegedly opened fire on innocent Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad on 16 Sept 200. The case was brought today by an injured survivor and three families of men killed in the incident, according to the legal team representing the civilians. The case was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the firms of Burke O’Neil LLC and Akeel & Valentine, P.C. You can read the complaint here.

3 Comments

  1. Dominik Zimmermann Dominik Zimmermann 13 October 2007

    Interesting to see that the case was not actually filed in Iraq. Of course the headquarter of Blackwater is situated in the USA making a lawsuit in the USA the primary choice. But could a case also be brought before an Iraqi court based on claims “of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision”?

  2. James Harrison James Harrison 23 October 2007

    According to the press release, “the complaint alleges that Blackwater violated the federal Alien Tort Statute in committing extrajudicial killing and war crimes, and that Blackwater should be liable for claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision.” One hurdle the complainants must surmount is the decision of the Supreme Court in Sosa v Alvarez MacHain in June 2004. In this decision, the Court took a narrow approach to the Alien Tort Statute. It dismissed a claim for arbitrary arrest because it had not been satisfactorily shown that this conduct was prohibited by customary international law. The majority held that “courts should require any claim based on the present-day law of nations to rest on a norm of international character accepted by the civilized world and defined with a specificity comparable to the features of the 18th century paradigms [piracy, violation of safe conduct, and assault against an ambassador] we have recognized.”

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