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Retired Military officers & others file amicus briefs in support of Iraqi plaintiffs alleging they were tortured by CACI & L-3 employees when detained at Abu Ghraib prison

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21 December 2011

Do Private Military Contractors Have Impunity to Torture?

Author: Laura Raymond, CommonDreams.org

Human rights attorneys are headed back to court in the coming month to argue that, yes, victims of war crimes and torture by contractors should have a path to justice. Attorneys from...the Center for Constitutional Rights...are representing Iraqi civilians who were horribly tortured in Abu Ghraib and other detention centers in Iraq in seeking to hold accountable two private contractors for their violations of international, federal and state law...The cases, Al Shimari v. CACI and Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla and L-3 aim to secure a day in court for the plaintiffs, none of whom were ever charged with any crimes...However, after years of litigation, the allegations of torture by contractors in these cases have still never been seriously examined, much less ruled on, by the courts...They are also invoking a new, sweeping defense...The new rule is termed "battlefield preemption" and aims to eliminate any civil lawsuits against contractors that take place on any "battlefield."...There...must be consequences for these violations. If there are not, courts will essentially be saying anything goes...if you are a private military contractor.

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20 December 2011

Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Challenge Corporate Impunity

Author: Center for Constitutional Rights

...[A]ttorneys for Iraqi torture victims abused in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and other detention centers in Iraq challenged two private military contractors’ claims to immunity from being sued on the grounds that their alleged torture occurred during wartime...[A] coalition of groups, including retired military officers and human rights NGO’s and experts, supported their claims by filing amicus briefs that argue that for-profit corporations cannot be considered equivalent to U.S. soldiers and should face justice under traditional legal principles governing any illegal conduct...The lawsuits charge that the two U.S. corporations directed and participated in illegal conduct at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq, including subjecting plaintiffs to electric shocks, sexual assaults, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food and water...The corporations, which had been hired to provide interpretation and interrogation services, argue their actions are protected under the mantle of sovereign immunity and thus beyond review of the courts because they are “combatant military activities.”

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19 December 2011

[PDF] Suhail Nazim Abdullah Al Shimari, et al v CACI Intl. Inc; Wissam Abdullateff Sa’eed-Al-Quraishi, et al v L-3 Services, Inc.- Brief of professors of civil procedure & federal courts as amici curiae in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees

Author: Joshua S. Devore & others

Likewise, Defendants’ so-called “law-of-war immunity” does not provide an immunity from suit of the kind that permits immediate review. The law-of-war defense provides that foreign courts lack personal jurisdiction over members of the United States military...When the foreign country is friendly, the army “is exempt from the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the place” because the foreign nation has in effect “cede[d] a portion of his territorial jurisdiction when he allows the troops of a foreign prince to pass through his dominions.”...In other words, although the troops are physically present in a foreign nation, they are regarded as if they were in their home country, and thus are not considered present in the host country for purposes of the jurisdiction of the host-country’s courts. When the foreign country is hostile, the invading army is said to be “exempt” from
the foreign nation’s laws and jurisdiction.

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1 September 2001

full report: Timber Trafficking: Illegal Logging in Indonesia, South East Asia and International Consumption of Illegally Sourced Timber

Author: Environmental Investigation Agency and Telapak Indonesia

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