US President Donald Trump pardoned on Tuesday four former US service members, who were contractors employed by Blackwater, for a massacre happened in Iraq at Nisour Square in 2007. Dozens were killed, and two of the victims were eight- and 11-year-old boys, according to The New York Times.One of the contractors who was pardoned yesterday was Nicholas Slatten, who was accused of killing 17 civilians and initiating the shooting at the square, according to AP. He was sentenced to life imprisonment while his colleagues were sentenced to 20-30 years in imprisonment. The 2007 massacre can be claimed as the beginning of Iraqis and American distrust of American forces, and highlighted doubt about using private military contractors to aid beleaguered American and coalition soldiers in Iraq. Prosecution turned out to be problematic for the US Justice Department, as investigators needed to find evidence at a crime scene thousands of miles from the US. In 2009, four of the contractors’ cases were dismissed by a federal judge claiming that the evidence was “tainted” according to The New York Times.Several years later, that decision was overturned by the federal appeals court in Washington, DC. In 2019, Slatten was sentenced to life in prison for the firefight that broke out.Defense lawyers claimed that the case against their clients was marred since the prosecution had to gather evidence of a crime halfway across the world. They also claimed that although the contractors were heavily armed, they were ambushed by Iraqi militants upon arrival. The prosecutors, however, claimed that the contractors were unprovoked and used an inordinate amount of fire power, including sniper rounds.Trump last year pardoned a former US Army Special Forces operator who was supposed to stand to trial over the assassination of a suspected Afghan bomb maker. Another US Army lieutenant was also about to be sentenced for ordering troops under his command to open fire on Afghani civilians, killing three.Though the president is granted special powers to pardon or grant clemency, these are unusual cases. In general, most clemency cases go through traditionally under the US Justice Department review process. More than half of the cases that the president has reviewed and pardoned bypassed the traditional route.A possible insight to the reasons behind the pardoning of these contractors is that Blackwater founder Erik Prince is considered an ally of the president. His sister, Betsy DeVos, was appointed as the education secretary. Prince was also under investigation by the special counsel’s office. He allegedly had intended to meet with a Russia-sanctioned banker in the Seychelles to find ways that the 2017 incoming Trump administration could cooperate with Russia.This is not the first time in recent memory that a president pardoned cases that were deemed controversial. Shortly before leaving office, President Bill Clinton issued pardons that included his half-brother, Roger Clinton, over a cocaine conviction for which he only served a year, as well as for Susan H. McDougal, a one-time Clinton business partner who was jailed as part of the Whitewater investigation as reported by The New York Times.It is expected that this will not be the end of the president’s pardons. Potential pardons have been discussed that could possibly test the boundaries of the president’s constitutional powers.