19 Jan 2010

Iraq to sue Blackwater over killings

12:46 pm on 19 January 2010

Iraq is taking steps to sue the American security company Blackwater over a number of incidents in which citizens have been killed.

The government has begun collecting signatures for a class action lawsuit on behalf of people killed or wounded in incidents involving Blackwater.

The office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said compensation will be sought for a number of cases.

These include the killing of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad's Nisoor Square on 16 September, 2007.

Last month, a federal judge in the United States dismissed 14 charges against five Blackwater guards over the killings.

Immediately after the ruling, the Iraqi government issued several statements pledging that it would continue to "act forcefully and decisively to prosecute".

Lawyers for the guards said they were acting in self-defence, but witnesses and family members of those killed maintain that the shooting on 16 September 2007 was unprovoked.