If, for instance, a company like Blackwater Security Consulting contracted by the government commits a crime not ordered by it. If Blackwater Security Consulting then went bankrupt, and the U.S. lost a war to a country.

Can the U.S. be held financially liable for the crime committed by its military contractor? Can it still be held financially liable even if the country did not go bankrupt? Is there some kind of settlement process during peace treaty negotiations?

1 Answer 1


If Blackwater Security Consulting then went bankrupt, and the U.S. lost a war to a country

It is hard to conceive of a world in which the US actually loses a war and things like courts remain operational. This is discounting situations like Vietnam where the US retreated because it was unable to win decisively and the ongoing cost became unacceptable. Actually losing a war and being occupied implies some kind of post-nuclear mass murder scenario that's difficult to speculate coherently about.

There is 20th century precedent for the criminal prosecution of contractors employed by the government that lost a war - IG Farben senior staff were prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

The US has "opted out" of war crimes prosecution for its military and government. However, that does not cover private contractors, so theoretically they could be prosecuted for war crimes. The US did carry out its own prosecution of Blackwater staff for war crimes.

  • So, according to your definition, did the Soviets lose in Afghanistan or not? Apr 9, 2020 at 8:06
  • I'd say it was an identical situation: they gave up the occupation because it was untenable, not because they were defeated militarily. Same goes for most colonial occupations.
    – pjc50
    Apr 9, 2020 at 8:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .