A United Nations panel on Wednesday said that President Trump’s pardons for several former Blackwater contractors convicted of killing more than a dozen civilians in Baghdad violated international law.
Reuters reported that the U.N. working group on the use of mercenaries condemned the action in a statement, calling Trump’s decision to pardon the four men an affront to justice and insult to the memory of those killed.
“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” said the group’s chair, Jelena Aparac, according to the news agency.
“These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level,” Aparac continued.
Trump last week moved to pardon the four men along with a handful of former GOP congressmen and a number of loyalists close to his 2016 campaign.
The pardons for the former Blackwater contractors were met with sharp criticism from Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the top American officials in charge of U.S. policy in Iraq at the time of the 2007 killings, who called it “hugely damaging, an action that tells the world that Americans abroad can commit the most heinous crimes with impunity” in a joint statement obtained by Reuters.
Now known as Academi, the private security services company faced heavy criticism over the 2007 incident and lost its license to operate in Iraq from the country’s government as a result. The company also faced accusations of other human rights abuses as a result of the WikiLeaks release of thousands of documents related to the Iraq War in 2010.