New Report: Justice Department Systematically Ignores Violent Crimes Committed By Private Security Contractors
WASHINGTON—The authors of a new report, which concludes that the Department of Justice’s failure to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by private security contractors operating in Iraq and Afghanistan has created a dangerous “culture of impunity,” will brief journalists on their findings at 10:00AM EST Wednesday, January 16th in the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club.
Released today by Human Rights First, the report entitled “Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity,” offers the first comprehensive look at this growing crisis and includes a number of practical recommendations for addressing and correcting this increasingly dangerous situation. The report is based on interviews, court records, government reports, declassified documents and other documentary sources.
The report’s authors, Kevin Lanigan, director of Human Rights First’s Law and Security program, and Scott Horton, a leading authority on international law regarding torture, will be joined by Rear Admiral (Ret.) John D. Hutson, former Navy Judge Advocate General (1997-2000), to brief reporters on how the Justice Department’s failure to establish an effective system for holding contractors legally accountable has given rise to the principle of “shoot first, ask questions later—or never,” which threatens not only the safety of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, and American troops and the contractors themselves, but also the U.S. military missions in those two countries.
The report estimates that there are now at least 35,000 private contractors employed by 181 different companies operating in Iraq alone, comprising the second largest armed security force in the U.S.-led coalition. Driven by the demands of fighting wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq with an all-volunteer military force, the U.S. government has come increasingly to rely on a record number of private contractors to undertake many assignments typically performed by soldiers.
WHO Kevin Lanigan, director of Human Rights First’s Law and Security program
Scott Horton, a leading authority on international law regarding torture
Rear Admiral (Ret.) John D. Hutson, former Navy Judge Advocate General (1997-2000)
WHAT Brief journalists on a new report by Human Rights First, which holds the Department of Justice’s failure to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by private security contractors operating in Iraq and Afghanistan criminally responsible for creating a dangerous “culture of impunity.”
WHEN 10:00AM EST Wednesday, January 16th
WHERE National Press Club, Holeman Lounge