A federal judge held last week that a civil suit against military contractors who allegedly shot 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007 can move forward in a North Carolina state court. The move came because Judge Terrence Boyle ruled that the non-resident plaintiffs, the relatives of the killed Iraqis, would not be able to sue in U.S. federal court for wrongs occurring outside of the U.S. This civil action in state court is the last chance for the Iraqi families to find closure for a terrible tragedy.
In September, 2007, military contractors working for Blackwater, now called Xe, opened fire in Nisoor Square in Baghdad. The military contractors say they were reacting to an attack. An Iraqi government investigation and a separate FBI investigation, however, found the contractors were probably unprovoked. Facing criminal charges in the U.S., one of the six contractors struck a deal with prosecutors to testify against the others. Despite video evidence and the testimony of the contractor, the case was thrown outbecause of other evidentiary problems involving testimony taken from the other contractors.