The sovereign government of Iraq moves to end immunity from Iraqi laws for US soldiers. This might be the quickest way to get our troops out of there.
Iraq will ask the United Nations to end immunity from local law for U.S. troops, the government said on Monday, as the U.S. military named five soldiers charged in a rape-murder case that has outraged Iraqis.
In an interview a week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded a review of foreign troops’ immunity, Human Rights Minister Wigdan Michael said work on it was now under way and a request could be ready by next month to go to the U.N. Security Council, under whose mandate U.S.-led forces operate in Iraq.
“We’re very serious about this,” she said, adding a lack of enforcement of U.S. military law in the past had encouraged soldiers to commit crimes against Iraqi civilians.
Asked to respond to Michael’s remarks, White House spokesman Tony Snow dismissed that as a “hypothetical game”.
The day before handing formal sovereignty back to Iraqis in June 2004, the U.S. occupation authority issued a decree giving its troops immunity from Iraqi law. That remains in force and is confirmed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546 on Iraq.
Many Iraqis have complained for the past three years about hundreds of civilians killed by U.S. troops and abuses such as those highlighted in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal of 2004.
Michael said commanders’ failure to hold soldiers to account had fostered a climate of impunity: “One of the reasons for this is the U.N. resolution, which gives the multinational force soldiers immunity. Without punishment, you get violations.”