Press Release from the Center for Constitutional Rights, 10 February 2009
Today, attorneys for torture victims abused in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq asked the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to affirm a lower court ruling letting the lawsuit proceed to trial against CACI International Inc. and overturn as premature the summary judgment granted to L-3.
The court heard arguments in Saleh v. CACI et al., the federal litigation brought by Iraqis against the publicly-traded companies, CACI International Inc. and L-3 over human rights abuses committed in Iraq.
Filed in June 2004, Saleh v. CACI et al. charged the companies with torture and other heinous and illegal acts while they provided interrogation and translation services, respectively, at detention facilities in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib.
On November 6, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson ruled in favor of the victims, denying CACI's motion for summary judgment and ordering a jury trial against CACI. The court found that there was a dual chain of command where corporate employees were obliged to report abuses up the chain of command at CACI, and that the corporation could be held liable for the egregious acts alleged. In the same order, Judge Robertson granted L-3's motion for summary judgment, reasoning that the military exercised exclusive control over the L-3 employees working as translators. Both appeals were heard today.
The victims are represented by Susan L. Burke, William T. O'Neil, and Bill Gould , of Burke O'Neil LLC, of Washington, D.C.; Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, P.C., of Troy, Michigan; and Katherine Gallagher, of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Said Susan L. Burke, of Burke O'Neil LLC, "As we argued today, CACI and L-3 should not be allowed to evade accountability for their employees' complicity in the torture and human rights abuses that sent their military co-conspirators to prison."
Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Katherine Gallagher, "Private military contractors cannot act outside the law, with impunity. They must be held to account for their role in the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and the other facilities in Iraq."
Said Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, P.C., "The victims of Abu Ghraib abuse should have their day in court to hold these corporations liable for the wrongs they committed."