21 December 2011 — CCR
This week, CCR and co-counsel filed briefs in our cases on behalf of dozens of Iraqis challenging private military contractor impunity for war crimes and torture at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers in Iraq. Originally filed in 2008, the two federal lawsuits, Al Shimari v. CACI and Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla, charge that U.S. corporations CACI International and L-3 Services directed and participated in war crimes and torture, including subjecting our plaintiffs to electric shocks, sexual assault, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food and water. Having both survived initial motions to dismiss, the two cases were later dismissed by in a 2-1 decision by a panel of three judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals because the court ruled military contractors should be immune from civil lawsuits that take place on a so-called “battlefield,” among other findings. But now, at CCR’s request, the dismissals will get a rare review by all fourteen judges who sit on the Fourth Circuit. The oral argument will take place in Richmond, Virginia on January 27, 2012. In addition to deciding whether our plaintiffs will be successful in their pursuit of justice and redress, this decision could have far-reaching consequences for contractor accountability. Please click here to read a blog post about the significance of these cases.
In order to urge the court to allow these cases and others like them to go forward, various organizations and groups submitted legal briefs yesterday supporting CCR’s case. One of the briefs (PDF) was submitted by a group of retired military officers objecting to the fact that, if this case is allowed to be dismissed at this stage in the legal process, for-profit military contractors would be granted more immunity than actual soldiers who are accused of war crimes and torture.