Iraq says has filed case against Blackwater over civilian killings

Iraq has filed a lawsuit against Blackwater in a US court and will file another in Iraq over civilian muders.

Iraq says has filed case against Blackwater over civilian killings

Iraq has filed a lawsuit against private security firm Blackwater in a US court and will file another in Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday after an American court dismissed charges against five Blackwater guards over civilian muders.

US Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the charges against the five, saying the defendants' constitutional rights had been violated.

The Iraqi government "rejects the ruling issued by the American court acquitting the company of the crime of killing a number of citizens," Maliki said, referring to the ruling last week to dismiss criminal charges against the guards, who were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in an unprovoked Baghdad attack in September 2007.

"For our part, we have formed a committee and filed a case against Blackwater in the United States and will file one here in Iraq," he told reporters in the holy Shiite shrine city of Najaf in southern Iraq.

The Blackwater incident came to symbolise for Iraqis what they saw as foreigners' insult for their lives after private guards protecting U.S. personnel were given immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

That immunity was lifted in a bilateral agreement that came into effect from last year. It is not clear how an Iraqi case against the guards, or Xe itself, would get around the immunity that was in place in 2007.

The Iraqi government called the U.S. court ruling "unacceptable and unjust" and promised to support a lawsuit in U.S. courts filed by victims of the shooting or their relatives.

Witnesses and victims say the guards shot indiscriminately.

The five guards were charged in a U.S. federal court with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 of attempting to commit manslaughter and one weapons violation. A sixth Blackwater guard pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and attempting to commit manslaughter, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Friday without elaborating that Iraq had "started to take the necessary measures to bring Blackwater to justice."


Agencies


Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2010, 12:02
Add Comment