UN Human Rights Office concerned over presidential pardon for convicts in killing of Iraqi civilianstext_fields
Geneva: The United Nation's Human Rights Office has expressed deep concern over the US President Donald Trump's presidential pardon for four security guards from the private military firm Blackwater who were convicted for killing 14 Iraqi civilians.
Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, were awarded sentences ranging from 12 years to life imprisonment, including on charges of first-degree murder. They were convicted for a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that instigated an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.
In a statement issued by UN Human Rights Office, spokesperson Marta Hurtado said that the pardoning contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future.
The UN body called upon the US to renew its commitment to fighting impunity for gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as to uphold its obligations to ensure accountability for such crimes.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We are deeply concerned by the recent <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UnitedStates?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc^tfw">#UnitedStates</a> presidential pardons for four security guards from the private military firm <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Blackwater?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc^tfw">#Blackwater</a> who were convicted for killing 14 Iraqi civilians: pardoning them contributes to impunity. <br><br>Read 👉 <a href="https://t.co/4Jtg0sSLuq">https://t.co/4Jtg0sSLuq</a> <a href="https://t.co/Cb32smuxBx">pic.twitter.com/Cb32smuxBx</a></p>— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNHumanRights/status/1341784041981415424?ref_src=twsrc^tfw">December 23, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The supporters of the contractors had lobbied for the president's pardon arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems.
Last November, Trump had granted pardon to a former US Army commando convicted in the killing of an Afghan civilian and to a former Army lieutenant convicted of murder of ordering his staff to fire upon three Afghans.
Altogether, the outgoing president has pardoned 15 people, including a pair of congressional Republicans, according to a report.