UN Criticises Trump’s Pardons for Blackwater Guards
The UN has sharply criticised US President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon four former Blackwater contractors jailed over the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians.
Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard opened fire in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square in 2007 while guarding an American diplomatic convoy.
The UN Human Rights Office warned that the pardons would serve to embolden others to commit similar crimes.
The father of a nine-year boy who died said Trump “broke my life again”.
There was no immediate response from the Iraqi government.
A spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, Marta Hurtado, expressed deep concern and said pardoning the guards “contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future”.
“The UN Human Rights Office calls on the US to renew its commitment to fighting impunity for gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as to uphold its obligations to ensure accountability for such crimes,” she added.
Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said Trump had “hit a disgraceful new low with the Blackwater pardons”.
“President Trump insults the memory of the Iraqi victims and further degrades his office with this action,” she added.
Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “Pardoning these murderers is a disgrace. They shot women and kids who had their hands in the air.”
“But it’s all part of a plan to limit [President-elect Joe] Biden’s national security tools. These pardons will greatly damage U.S.-Iraq relations, at a critical moment.”
On September 16, 2007, the mercenaries of the US Blackwater, a company known for its black record in committing murders against Iraqi civilians, opened fire indiscriminately on Iraqi civilians around Nisoor Square, a busy roundabout that was immediately adjacent to the heavily-fortified Green Zone, killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 17 others.