Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Ex-Blackwater workers say U.S. charges are unlawful

By Tim McGlone The Virginian-Pilot
June 2, 2010    NORFOLK

Lawyers for two former Blackwater workers charged with murdering two Afghan civilians are mounting a constitutional challenge that has never been tested before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The government has had difficulties in the past gaining convictions against private contractors and military personnel for conduct in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This latest move represents the challenges faced by both sides in the murder case against Christopher Drotleff and Justin Cannon.

Both defendants filed a flurry of motions over the past two weeks seeking to have the case thrown out and, among other things, demanding the government turn over any evidence favorable to the defendants that it might have.

One joint motion calls for the dismissal of the indictment, arguing that Congress overstepped its authority when it passed a law, and several amendments, specifically targeting private contractors accused of crimes in war zones.

“Congress has attempted to expand federal criminal jurisdiction overseas in ways never imagined by the Founding Fathers,” Cannon’s attorneys wrote in a May 19 motion to dismiss.

The argument has been tried before, without success, but one federal judge in a similar case called it “rather strong.” Legal experts and a military analyst say the U.S. Supreme Court must eventually decide whether Congress went too far.  Read the full story here

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment