A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Former Blackwater guards appeal conviction for Baghdad shooting

[JURIST] Four former Blackwater [corporate website] security contractors on Monday appealed their conviction for a 2007 Baghdad shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians. This appeal centers around a witness for the prosecution who changed his testimony [AP report] after the trial in a way that allegedly undermines the government's case. The four men were found guilty [JURIST report] of various murder charges in October 2014 by the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website], and in April 2015 one was sentenced [JURIST report] to life in prison while the remaining three were given 30 years. US District Judge Royce Lamberth declined to grant a new trial when the witness' new testimony came to light before the sentencing hearing, but the defendants pursue this appeal while maintaining that the shootings were justified.

Blackwater [JURIST news archive] and its employees have faced legal controversy in recent years for activities during the Iraq war. In 2014 the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries urged [JURIST report] stronger global and regulation of private security companies. The call came on the heels of the guilty verdict against the four ex-Blackwater security guards. In August 2012 Blackwater agreed to settle [JURIST report] federal criminal charges dealing with export and firearm violations. Also in 2012 Blackwater reached a confidential settlement agreement [JURIST report] with survivors and families of victims in the 2007 shooting incident. Blackwater ceased operations in Baghdad [JURIST report] in May 2009 when its security contracts expired and were not renewed.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.