Donald Trump, international war criminal.
The description seems so apt that it just rolls right off the tongue.
And while many may have described the deposed president thusly in the privacy of their minds or publicly on social media, now, U.N. human rights experts are making that accusation as well due to Trump’s pardon last week of four murderers of Iraqi civilians employed by Blackwater, the mercenary-for-hire company run by the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Eric Prince.
Jelena Aparac, the chair of the U.N. working group on the use of mercenaries, condemned the audacious pardons of Nicholas Slatten — who was convicted of first-degree murder — and Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard, each of whom were convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter for their part in what has become known as the Nisour Square massacre where they gunned down innocent Iraqi civilians who posed no threat to them.
“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” said Aparac in a statement issued today.
“These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level,” the U.N. offical continued.
Under the United States’ obligations to the Geneva Convention, war criminals must be held accountable for their criminal actions, even if they are mercenary contractors rather than regular military personnel.
The U.N. officials are concerned that allowing privately-hired security contractors to “operate with impunity in armed conflicts” will give countries an impetus to circumvent international treaties and their obligations under humanitarian law.
Trump’s pardons of these despicable individuals have also been condemned by U.S. military and diplomatic officials.
General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time of the killings, and Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq at the time, described Trump’s pardons as “hugely damaging, an action that tells the world that Americans abroad can commit the most heinous crimes with impunity.”
When issuing the pardons, the Trump administration falsely claimed that they were “broadly supported by the public” and cited the backing of a number of Republican lawmakers for the move, a predictable reflection of the moral rot that has infected a GOP fully under the thumb of the defeated president.
Hopefully, the Biden administration will be able to convince Congress to finally accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in the Hague which has prosecuted those who have committed crimes against humanity, and allow that body to try Donald Trump for his multiple transgressions.
Then they can have at him after the U.S. court system has their shot.
Original reporting by Reuters.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.