On December 31, 2009, Judge Richardo M. Urbina of the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges against five Blackwater guards indicted for their involvement in the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in September 2007. Following the dismissal, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated that Iraq rejected the dismissal and would file lawsuits in Iraqi and US courts. Vice President Biden claimed that the US would appeal the dismissal. Following the controversy related to their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater changed its company name to Xe Services LLC and it was subsequently sold and again renamed Academi. Though barred from Iraq, the company continues to operate as a private military and security contractor.
Learn more about Blackwater from the JURIST news archive and read commentary on the dismissal of the lawsuit from Shaista Shamee and James Cockayne in Hotline. You can also read comprehensive coverage of the Iraq War in Features.