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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Blackwater Mercenaries Not Subject to Uniform Military Code of Jusitce

    BAGHDAD: If a private in the United States military fires on civilians, a clear body of law and a set of procedures exist for the military to use in investigating each incident and deciding if the evidence is sufficient to bring charges.

    But when private security contractors do the same, it is exceedingly unlikely that they will be called to account. A patchwork of laws that are largely untested, and practical obstacles to building cases in war zones, have all but insulated contractors from accountability.

    Those gaps were brought into sharp relief after Sept. 16, when Blackwater guards under contract to the State Department opened fire on unarmed civilians and killed 17 Iraqis, according to the Iraqi government.

    Even if the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is now looking into the shooting for the department, determine that a crime was committed, there are formidable obstacles to mounting a case, according to interviews with former prosecutors, lawyers and experts in military and civilian law as it is applied overseas.

    Roughly 100,000 American contractors are working in Iraq, but there has yet to be a prosecution for a single incident of violence, according to Scott Horton, a specialist in the law of armed conflict who teaches at Columbia University.

    [...]

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