In a file picture dated 05 February 2005, members of the US-based Blackwater private security firm scan Baghdad city centre from their helicopter. Iraq’s interior minister Jawad al-Bolani 17 September 2007 has ordered to cancel the licence of Blackwater, the US-based private security company, after it was involved in a shootout that killed eight people, an offical told AFP. (AFP Photo/Marwan Naamani)
The use of private contractors allows the US to evade responsibility for violations of international humanitarian legislation, a top Russian diplomat for human rights and democracy said.
The comment came from Foreign Ministry Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov as the US Justice Department halted an investigation into the attempted bribing of Iraqi police officials by employees of the Blackwater security company (re-branded as ‘Academi’ in late 2011).
Blackwater attempted to pay $1 million in bribes for new contracts in Iraq, and also to block an investigation into the 2007 murder of 17 Iraqi civilians, including several children, by Blackwater operatives, a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website said.
The US State Department didn’t end its relationship with Blackwater for two years after the tragedy, Dolgov said.
“Despite the scandalous experience with the Blackwater company, the US military and foreign policy agencies continue to attract contractors for doing the ‘dirty work’ in the zone of armed conflicts,” Dolgov said. “Such outsourcing of state functions to private firms allows the US government to evade the responsibility for violation of international humanitarian norms.”
“The Blackwater case is a vivid example of impunity enjoyed by the employees of private security companies, despite blatant violations of international Human Rights standards. The current situation is a result of the inconsistent and selective actions of the US authorities, who ignore the rights of Iraqis who fall victim to the employees of private security companies. We expect that the US authorities will at last take some measures to punish the responsible contractors of the company formerly known as Blackwater,” the statement read.
Dolgov added that a US court had sentenced Russian citizen Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison for his alleged intention to sell weapons to Colombian rebels, while the “company that succeeded Blackwater” received no punishment after confessing to illegally supplying weapons to Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. “Is not it a very visual demonstration of double standards used by the US justice?” he said.