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UN officials condemn Trump’s pardon for security company employees: violating obligations under international law

UN officials condemn Trump's pardon for security company employees: violating obligations under international law

Last December, Trump signed the Defense Authorization Act of 2020 at the United Military Base Andrews, Maryland. Official picture

Recently, U.S. President Trump used presidential power to pardon four former employees of the Blackwater security company convicted of killing 14 Iraqi civilians.

In response, the United Nations human rights expert said on the 30th local time that this move violated its obligations under international law.

According to Reuters on the 30th, Apalak, chairman of the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, said that the pardon for four employees of the former “Black Water” security company was an “insult” to the victims of the incident and their families.

In a statement issued on the same day, she wrote, “The Geneva Conventions require States to prosecute war criminals, even if they are private security contractors. These amnesties violate the obligations of the United States under international law and undermine human rights at the broader level of humanitarian law and at the global level.”

The UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries expressed their concern at this time that if private security contractors are allowed to operate “without penalty” in armed conflict, countries will be encouraged to “outsource” core military operations to the private sector, thus circumventing their obligations under humanitarian law.

The experts of the working group called on all parties to the Geneva Convention to condemn Trump’s amnesty to the four employees.

On September 6, 2007, when the U.S. Blackwater Company escorted a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, four security guards opened fire on civilians in the busy Nisul Square without being provoked, killing 14 civilians, including two children, and injuring 18.

Of the four security guards pardoned on the 22nd of this month, Nicholas Sletten, the first to shoot at that time, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The other three were each sentenced to 30 years in prison, and their sentences were later commuted and their sentences were reduced by at least half.

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