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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No more SOFA in Iraq?

The identity papers of the murdered girl,
Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, nicknamed

Iraq says to ask U.N. to end US immunity
Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:07pm ET173

By Mariam Karouny

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - 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.

"We formed a committee last week to prepare reports and put it before the cabinet in three weeks. After that, Maliki will present it to the Security Council. We will ask them to lift the immunity," Michael said.

"If we don't get that, then we'll ask for an effective role in the investigations that are going on. The Iraqi government must have a role."

Analysts say it is improbable the United States would ever make its troops answerable to Iraq's chaotic judicial system.

Asked to respond to Michael's remarks, White House spokesman Tony Snow dismissed that as a "hypothetical game".

Status of Forces Agreements allows the US military to try US military personnel for crimes against local civilians. In 1999, the Japanese demanded that a Marine charged with the rape and murder of a Japanese girl be tried in local courts, and the US had to acceed after nationwide protestsand demands that the US leave Okinawa.

What this could lead to is open conflict between US and Iraqi forces, based on arrest warrants or a showdown between forces.

posted by Steve @ 1:34:00 AM

1:34:00 AM

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