Lower Courts to Hear Iraqi Civilians’ Claims of Beatings, Forced Nudity, Broken Bones, and Rape at Hands of Corporate Defendants

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Federal Appeals Court Permits Suits Against Private Military Contractors for Torture and War Crimes at Abu Ghraib to Proceed

May 11, 2012, Richmond, VA – Today, a federal appellate court dismissed the appeals of two private military contractors who had argued they were immune from litigation when they engage in torture. The corporate defendants, CACI and L-3, have argued that they should receive the same protections as the United States government and that, therefore, any of their wartime activities – including torture – are similarly beyond review of the courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, remanded the cases to the district courts that had previously rejected the corporations’ novel claims of immunity, in order to allow fact-finding to proceed. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is co-counsel on the cases, which were filed in 2008.

http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/federal-appeals-court-permits-suits-against-private-military-contractors-torture-and-war-crimes-abu-
“Today’s ruling provides an opportunity for victims of torture at Abu Ghraib to tell their stories to an American court and to obtain justice from the private military contractors who played such a prominent role in one of the most shocking episodes of abuse in recent American history,” said CCR Legal Director, Baher Azmy, who co-argued the case.

The corporate defendants in the consolidated cases, who were hired to provide interpretation and interrogation services, are alleged to have subjected the plaintiffs to electric shocks, rape and other forms of sexual assault, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food and water. The two cases were brought on behalf of 76 Iraqis who were subjected to brutal, sadistic acts in detention centers Iraq by employees of the corporate defendants. Court martial and other testimony from soldiers convicted of serious abuse in Iraq directly link both companies to instances of torture. All of the plaintiffs were released from detention without charge.

Said Susan Burke, lead counsel on the case who also participated in oral argument before the full court, “The ruling is especially important in light of the unprecedented rise in the use of private military contractors in war zones. Ultimately, these cases should be about whether the actions of the defendants constituted war crimes and torture in violation of the law and not about whether or not the perpetrators should receive impunity even if they engaged in torture.”

In December, a coalition of groups, including retired military officers and human rights NGOs and experts, filed amicus briefs arguing that for-profit corporations cannot be considered equivalent to U.S. soldiers and should face justice under traditional legal principles that govern illegal conduct. The military officers’ brief expressed concern that “persons engaging in shocking behavior that the U.S. military does not itself tolerate for its own members have broad impunity from accountability.”

En banc appellate review, by all judges on a federal appeals court, is a rare occurrence, reserved for cases in which the issues raised are deemed to be of particular legal and constitutional importance. Fourteen judges heard the appeal, with 11 of the judges deciding in the plaintiffs favor.

The former detainees are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights; Susan L. Burke and Susan Sajadi of Burke PLLC, of Washington, D.C.; and Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, PLC, of Troy, Michigan and Motley Rice LLC of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Visit CCR’s

Al-Quraishi et al v. Nakhla

and

Al Shimari v. CACI

case pages for more information. Download this

factsheet

for more information about CCR's cases against Titan/L-3 and CACI.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Sacramento Dave's picture
Sacramento Dave
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Nov. 27, 2010 10:46 am

Comments

These are important legal actions. Thanks for calling them to our attention.

It's good to know that people are trying to keep tabs on the corporate, for-profit miliary elements of this "free market" Imperial nation. We the people have struggled throughout the history of this nation to become civilized. Corporate, for-profit militaries are potentially the most uncivilized legal collectives to arise within our nation of cities, towns, pastoral countryside, and out of our body politic originally organized with the idea of working towards a common, public good.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

With the 2014 Elections just a few months away, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind prospective voters around the Country - especially those in Tennesee, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas and Alabama (who have Senators up for re-election who are among the 30 Republicans for Rape).

A quick reminder as to why this thread is appropriate for this. It was Senator Franken's initial amendment offered (to the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill) spurred by the story of the brutal rape on her 5th day in Iraq by KBR leadership back in 2005.

Of the 30 (all Republican for some reason) Senators that voted against the Amendment (which had plenty of votes to pass making it all the more tell-tale that they would vote against it) 10 have since chosen to leave the Senate.

Of the 20 RepublicansForRape remaining there are 8 running for reALECtion this Fall. So, in addition to all the other anti-Female legislation that has been going around - remember the case of Jamie Leigh Jones also.

Resist the Ad$ that tell you to reelect any U.S. Senators named: Alexander or Cochran or Cornyn or Enzi or Graham or Inhofe or Roberts or Sessions.

Ads that tell you to imagine how poorly they think their opponents will do - can't compare to what they have already shown themselves to be.

Rodger97321's picture
Rodger97321
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Currently Chatting

Should public radio program in the public interest?

NPR is supposed to be our national public radio, but they're barely covering climate issues that are in the public's interest.

Only one month ago, a national New York Times/CBS News poll found that half of all Americans think that global warming is already having a serious impact. Sixty percent of those surveyed even said that protecting our environment should be a priority “even at the risk of curbing economic growth.”

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