Court Reopens Blackwater Shooting Case

An appeals court has revived the prosecution of four Blackwater guards accused of killing 14 Iraqis in a Baghdad street more than three years ago. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that a federal judge misinterpreted the law when he dismissed all charges against the guards in 2009. The four guards were accused of opening fire in a crowded square while escorting diplomats away from a nearby bombing site. When the shooting ended, 14 Iraqis were killed and 20 wounded. The shooting badly strained relations between the U.S. and Iraq, and tarnished the reputation of Blackwater to the point that the mercenary-contracting company renamed itself Xe Services. It's not clear what effect the ruling will have on the case: Though the court ruled that U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina “made a number of systemic errors based on an erroneous legal analysis” when he dismissed the charges, it also sent the case back to that same judge for reconsideration.