The United Nations on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump’s December 22, 2020 pardons of four Blackwater Security Consulting mercenaries who participated in a massacre of Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007.
Blackwater is owned by Erik Prince, the younger brother of departing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Nicholas Slatten was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard received 10-15 year sentences for manslaughter and weapons charges.
Seventeen people were killed and 20 more were injured.
Blackwater claimed at the time that its personnel had come under fire and had to defend themselves, which witnesses have testified under oath is a lie.
“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” Jelena Aparac, chair of the UN working group on the use of mercenaries, said in a statement to Reuters.
“These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level,” Aparac added, noting that Trump has effectively given a green light for contractors to “operate with impunity in armed conflicts,” which is prohibited under the Geneva Convention.
In their own joint statement to Reuters, General David Petraeus, the former leader of American forces in Iraq, and former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker called Trump’s acts of clemency “hugely damaging,” and “an action that tells the world that Americans abroad can commit the most heinous crimes with impunity.”
The White House, meanwhile, maintains that the pardons are “broadly supported by the public,” including Fox News host Pete Hegseth as well as Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Ralph Norman (SC), Bill Flores (TX), Brian Babin (TX), Michael Burgess (TX), Daniel Webster (FL), Steve King (IA), and Ted Yoho (FL).
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.