The recent U.S. presidential pardons granted to four private security company Blackwater guards convicted of committing a massacre in Iraq violated U.S. obligations under international law and should be seen as "an affront to justice," a group of UN experts said here Wednesday.
In a media statement, the UN experts also called on all states parties to the Geneva Conventions to condemn the pardons.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Dec. 22 granted full pardons to 15 people, including four Blackwater security guards convicted of killing 14 Iraqi civilians.
The experts stressed that the Blackwater guards were prosecuted and convicted of multiple criminal acts committed during a massacre at Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007 which left 14 unarmed civilians dead.
"Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families," said Jelena Aparac, Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries.
"The Geneva Conventions oblige States to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes, even when they act as private security contractors. These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level," she said.
The other four members of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Lilian Bobea, Chris Kwaja, Ravindran Daniel, and Sorcha MacLeod, also signed Wednesday's statement. Enditem