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Corporations that Kill: Prosecuting Blackwater

SHOOTING TO KILL: SOCIO-LEGAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE USE OF LETHAL FORCE, S. Bronitt, M. Gani & S. Hufnagel, eds., Hart Publishing, Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/129

24 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010 Last revised: 23 Jan 2012

David Kinley

The University of Sydney Law School

Odette Murray

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: November 18, 2010

Abstract

The deaths of 17 civilian Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in September 2007 at the hands of Blackwater (now Xe) personnel was as notable for the horrifying manner in which the 17 died as it was for revealing the abject lack of effective regulation and accountability mechanisms that exist for private military corporations engaged in lethal actions. How did this circumstance come to be? What are the dimensions of the growing phenomenon of security and military privatization? What ought to be the framework within which the exercise of public power in private hands is regulated when the power in question is in extremis? And what are the challenges in establishing such control? This article addresses these questions working through the prism of the Nisour Square massacre and its aftermath. It concludes that even if some progress can be made through private sector initiatives, the filling of the current regulatory lacunae must be seen as primarily a task of the contracting-out states themselves, and it is to them that we must look to lobby for change.

Keywords: Private Military and Security Corporations, International Law, US Criminal Law, State Responsibility, Business and Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Kinley, David and Murray, Odette, Corporations that Kill: Prosecuting Blackwater (November 18, 2010). SHOOTING TO KILL: SOCIO-LEGAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE USE OF LETHAL FORCE, S. Bronitt, M. Gani & S. Hufnagel, eds., Hart Publishing, Forthcoming; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/129. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1711564

David Kinley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Odette Murray

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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