October 22, 2014, New York – In response to today’s guilty verdicts against all four former Blackwater security guards charged in the 2007 killings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Legal Director Baher Azmy issued the statement below. CCR represented Iraqi victims of the killings in a human rights suit against Blackwater that settled in January 2010.
While today’s verdict cannot bring back the innocent Iraqis killed at Nisoor Square, it is a step towards full accountability for Blackwater’s actions. However, holding individuals responsible is not enough. If corporations like Blackwater, now known as Academi, are granted the rights accorded to “people” they must also bear the responsibilities. Private military contractors played a major role in the pressure to go to war in Iraq and have engaged in a variety of war crimes and atrocities during the invasion and occupation, while reaping billions of dollars in profits from the war. To this day, the U.S. government continues to award Blackwater and its successor entities millions of dollars each year in contracts, essentially rewarding war crimes.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.