Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
January 8, 2010

The United States does not tolerate attacks on innocent Iraqi civilians. When the Department of Justice indicted the security contractors deemed responsible for the September 16, 2007 shootings at Nisour Square in Baghdad, it announced that at least 34 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were killed or injured without justification or provocation. The Department of Justice also stated our goal that “those who engage in unprovoked and illegal attacks on civilians, whether during times of conflict or times of peace, will be held accountable.” This remains our objective.

The State Department fully supported the Department of Justice in its investigation and prosecution of these individuals. We respect the independence of the judiciary. The decision of the judge does not exonerate the defendants or necessarily terminate the proceedings. The Department of Justice, in consultation with the State Department, will carefully review the judge’s decision and assess all available legal options.

Whatever the case’s ultimate outcome, we deeply regret the suffering and loss of life caused by the Nisour Square shootings, and we are fully committed to holding accountable persons who commit such crimes, whether at home or abroad.

Additionally, we have taken significant steps to improve the oversight and accountability of our security contractors worldwide, to prevent the recurrence of tragedies such as the Nisour Square shootings.

PRN: 2010/021