Attracting private security companies to work in conflict zones allows the U.S. government to avoid responsibility for violating the norms of international humanitarian law, a senior Russian diplomat said.
“We have to state that, regardless of the controversial experience regarding the Blackwater company, the U.S. State and Defense Department continue to actively hire contract specialists, notably to perform ‘dirty work’ in armed conflict zones,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.
“By ‘outsourcing’ state functions to private companies, the U.S. government can avoid responsibility for violating norms of international humanitarian law,” he went on.
He said that Moscow was “concerned” after the U.S. Justice Department ended investigations into an attempt to bribe the Iraqi Interior Ministry by a private security company Academi LLC (formerly known as Blackwater) in 2007.
“This company tried to pay a $1-million bribe to get a license to work in Iraq and block an investigation into the September 2007 killing of 17 civilians, including children… by its employees in Baghdad,” Dolgov said.
He said the U.S. Department of State terminated its contract with Blackwater only two years after the tragedy.
Dolgov added that the U.S. legal system demonstrated “double standards in U.S. justice” when sentencing Russian national Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison “only for his intention (unproved) to sell weapons to Colombian rebels,” while “the successor company of Blackwater officially admitted illegal arms sales in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.”