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Judge Won't Dismiss War Crimes Suit Against Blackwater

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By Raw Story

A federal judge's ruling Wednesday won't shutter a war crimes suit against the security contracting firm formerly known as Blackwater, despite the fact that lawyers must refile their claims against the company.

64 Iraqis -- including the estates of 19 who died -- have sued the company, now called Xe, for indiscriminate beatings and killings.

Judge TS Ellis III dismissed several of the suits on Wednesday, citing a new ruling by the Supreme Court which raises the bar for allegations of war crimes.

"Ellis's ruling was not necessarily a response to faulty pleadings by the Iraqis' lawyers, but rather appears to be the result of a Supreme Court decision that came down after the Blackwater cases were originally filed," The Nation's Jeremy Scahill, who has covered the case closely, wrote Thursday. "In a 5-4 ruling in May 2009 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the court reversed decades of case law and imposed much more stringent standards for plaintiffs' to document facts before going to trial, According to Ellis's ruling, which cites Iqbal, the Iraqis must now file complaints that meet these new standards."

"We were very pleased with the ruling," says Susan Burke, the Iraqis' lead attorney, was quoted as saying. A Blackwater spokesman said, ""We are confident that [the plaintiffs] will not be able to meet the high standard specified in Judge Ellis' opinion."...(Remainder.)


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