US hires private firms for 'dirty work': Russian diplomat
Moscow, Aug 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Allowing private security companies to work in conflict zones helps the US government "avoid responsibility" for violating the norms of international humanitarian law, a Russian diplomat has said.
"We have to state that, regardless of the controversial experience regarding the Blackwater company, the US 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 US government can avoid responsibility for violating norms of international humanitarian law," he said.
He said Moscow was concerned after the US Justice Department ended investigations into an attempt to bribe the Iraqi interior ministry by 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 US State Department terminated its contract with Blackwater only two years after the tragedy.
Dolgov said the US legal system demonstrated "double standards in US 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".
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