First Published: 2007-10-24

 
Iraq revokes security contractors' immunity
 

Iraq cabinet to discuss new laws dealing with private security companies operating in Iraq.

 

Middle East Online

By Ammar Karim - BAGHDAD

Will they really become accountable to the law?

The Iraqi government announced on Wednesday that it has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country.

"The cabinet held a meeting yesterday and decided to scrap the article pertaining to security companies operating in Iraq that was issued by the CPA (Coalition Provision Authority) in 2004," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

"It has decided to present a new law regarding this issue which will be taken in the next cabinet meeting."

Article 1 of Section 2 of CPA order 17 issued by then US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, stipulates that the "multinational force, foreign liaison missions, their personnel, property, funds and assets and all international consultants shall be immune from Iraqi legal process."

The immunity granted to private contractors has become controversial since a series of shootings involving foreign security guards, the most infamous of them a September 16 shooting in which employees of the Blackwater firm killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.

The Blackwater guards opened fire when they were escorting a US State Department convoy through a Baghdad neighbourhood.

On October 9 guards of Australian security company Unity Resources Group fired upon a car in central Baghdad killing two women, and on October 18 guards of a British security company fired on a car wounding three people.

On Tuesday, the US government also moved to clamp down on Blackwater and other private security firms in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Officials said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was adopting "immediately" the recommendations of a review panel that exposed a worrying legal impunity for security guards working in the two countries.

The panel was led by Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's director of management policy, who said "the issue is to do the job in such a way that you minimize the risk to protectees and to any innocent Iraqis who happen to be in the area that a convoy is moving through."

In an implicit admonishment, the Kennedy panel stressed that private contractors should open fire only with "due regard for the safety of innocent bystanders."

The Blackwater shooting laid bare a lack of accountability for firms working for the US State Department rather than the Pentagon, whose private contractors are covered by US military law.

Washington has been increasingly dependent on contractors to protect its civilian staff in Iraq as the military has been fully occupied tackling insurgents and militias.

 

Desperation hangs over Syria meeting in Paris

Turkey submits bill to expand powers of Erdogan

CIA concludes Russia worked to help Trump win election

OPEC seeks output cuts from non-members

Performance of American comic cancelled in Saudi Arabia

Tamurt info: Polisario leader ‘most wanted man in Spain’

HSF denounces Algeria’s migrant expulsion as “shame for Africa”

Suicide bomber hits military camp in Yemen

US-backed alliance announces 'phase two' of Raqa campaign

Kuwait PM forms new cabinet after elections

Pentagon expands US footprint in Syria

OPEC to push for non-member oil cuts

Recaptured IS Libya bastion riddled with mines

Civilians caught in middle of Aleppo maelstrom

US-led coalition air strike destroys 168 IS oil tankers

European rights body says Turkey violated own constitution

Turkey to submit bill expanding Erdogan powers Saturday

Morocco acquits gay teenage girls

Regime air strikes resume on east Aleppo after 'pause'

Erdogan urges Turks to step up efforts to boost lira

IS kills 49 Syrian army members near Palmyra

UN says hundreds of Aleppo escapees missing, rebels block others from leaving

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ to have surgery in India

Israeli army admits Hezbollah map just ‘illustration’

Saudi soldier killed by landmine near Yemen border

Shadow of executed Shiite cleric looms in Saudi hometown

Russia vows no let-up in Aleppo assault while 'bandits' remain

US approves $7 billion in arms deals to Arab allies

400 migrants storm Spanish enclave border

IS claims Egypt cleric murders, threatens Sufis

Six killed in Egypt bomb blast

UN Syria envoy planning to meet Trump team

US says 50,000 IS jihadists killed in Iraq, Syria since 2014

Israel arrests alleged Hamas kidnap plotters

Greek court rejects extraditing last two Turkish 'coup' officers

Russian student faces jail after following IS lover to Syria

Yazidi leader calls on international community to help

UN reiterates fears for Aleppo children

Libya finds 266 IS bodies in former jihadist bastion Sirte

Turkey targets German diplomats at airports in revenge move

Aleppo White Helmets call for safe passage

Germany seeks to conclude training deal with Saudi

Egypt arrests son of former Islamist president

Israel joins forces with Greece, Cyprus to fight fire

Erdogan advisor says foreign TV chefs are spies