President Donald Trump’s pardons for the military contractors formerly with Blackwater who killed four Iraqi civilians violated the Geneva Convention, according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Last week, Trump issued pardons for Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard, among others. These four former Blackwater employees were convicted in the killing of four Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007, an incident that left 14 civilians dead, including a 9-year-old child.
Slatten, the one who fired the first shots in the incident, received a sentence of life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder, while the other three were convicted of manslaughter and weapons charges.
“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” Jelena Aparac, the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on mercenaries.
“The Geneva Conventions oblige States to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes, even when they act as private security contractors,” she added. “These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level.”
Aparac continued, “Ensuring accountability for such crimes is fundamental to humanity and to the community of nations. Pardons, amnesties, or any other forms of exculpation for war crimes open doors to future abuses when States contract private military and security companies for inherent state functions.”
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