SCOTUS Seeks Solicitor General Guidance on Abu Ghraib Torture Case Against Private Military Contractors
October 4, 2010, New York and Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it is asking the Solicitor General for the government’s views on claims brought by hundreds of detainees against private military contractors implicated in torture at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
In April, the torture victims asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, Saleh v. L-3. Saleh, first filed in 2004, is a federal lawsuit brought by more than 250 former Iraqi prisoners against private contractors CACI International Incorporated and Titan Corporation (now L-3 Services, Inc.) that charges the companies with torture and serious abuses while they provided interrogation and interpretation services, respectively, at detention facilities in Iraq, including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. The suit alleges CACI and L-3 violated state, federal and international law, including prohibitions against torture and war crimes. In the 2004 Fay Report, Army investigators recommended civilian prosecutions against them. In addition, the Department of Defense stated that contractors should be held liable.
On November 6, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson denied CACI's motion for summary judgment and ordered a jury trial against CACI. CACI appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In the same Order, Judge Robertson granted Titan's motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case against Titan. On September 11, 2009, in a 2-1 decision, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of all claims against Titan/L-3, and, reversing the district court’s decision, also dismissed all claims against CACI. Under the Court of Appeals decision, contractors would have more legal protections than U.S. soldiers, according to attorneys, who also view the lower court’s ruling on “battlefield preemption” grounds as judicial overreach.
The victims are represented by Susan L. Burke of Burke PLLC; Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, P.C.,; Vincent I. Parrett of Motley Rice LLC; and Katherine Gallagher, of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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