Investigation of Blackwater is unjust

Giovanni Di Stefano [lawyer for Ali Hassan al-Majid, Studio Legale Internazionale, Rome]: "The situation in Iraq is complicated and difficult. Death is common and murder ripe. I am of the view that in the investigation of any criminal matter in Iraq at the moment cannot be investigated by applying the normal standards. There is no question of adopting 'beyond reasonable doubt' or even the lower threshold of 'on the balance of probabilities'. The Iraqi Judicial system does not recognise such maxims. They apply the test of whether a Judge is 'satisfied' of the facts.

Blackwater security officers face a difficult task. They cannot ask questions first and then shoot if attacked. They must respond immediately. This is a position that has been forced upon them by virtue of the US/UK unlawful attack on Iraq and the resentment the people of Iraq generally hold for all foreigners. I am satisfied that whilst murder and death is deplorable, the criticisms of Blackwater cannot be justified under the climate and conditions upon which they are forced to operate. Whilst the Iraqi Government and the FBI are holding enquires into the alleged deaths of 17 citizens, it is to be noted that when 4 Blackwater Security Officers were killed no enquires were held. The FBI have no experience of day to day life in Iraq and as such applying US standards investigating events in an unknown country currently by the name of Iraq where law and order is non-existent makes any investigation of Blackwater wholly unfair and unjust, and I am of the view has only been ordered for the purposes of political appeasement.

I make the said statement because I and my colleagues have personal experience with Blackwater and other security companies. Under difficult and on one occasion at the airport dangerous situations, the Blackwater Security Officers behaved in a manner that 'saved' lives rather than risk life."

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