An incident this past weekend in which employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm that has become controversial for its extensive role in the war in Iraq, allegedly opened fire on and killed several Iraqis seems to be the last straw for Iraqi tolerance of the company. Iraqi government officials have promised action, including but not limited to the suspension or outright revocation of the company’s license to operate in Iraq.
But pulling Blackwater’s license may be all the Iraqis can do. Should any Iraqis ever seek redress for the deaths of the civilians in a criminal court, they will be out of luck. Because of an order promulgated by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the now-defunct American occupation government, there appears to be almost no chance that the contractors involved would be, or could be, successfully prosecuted in any court in Iraq. CPA Order 17 says private contractors working for the U.S. or coalition governments in Iraq are not subject to Iraqi law. Should any attempt be made to prosecute Blackwater in the United States, meanwhile, it’s not clear what law, if any, applies. [complete article]
See also, Sadr demands all foreign security contractors leave Iraq (AP) and Iraq to review all security contractors (NYT).