[JURIST] The Iraqi cabinet Tuesday approved a draft law [JURIST report] that would strip foreign security contractors of immunity from Iraqi prosecution granted under Order 17 [PDF text] passed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) [official website]. The draft law now goes to the Iraqi parliament. According to government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh as quoted by Reuters, the legislation also requires foreign contractors to register with the government, acquire and carry weapons licenses, and submit to searches at Iraqi military security checkpoints.
The legislation was proposed following a September 16 shooting incident [JURIST report] in which 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed by Blackwater USA [corporate website] contractors. The US House has passed a bill that would expand US jurisdiction over the same private contractors [JURIST report]. Another US bill [text, see s. 552, Clarification of Application of Uniform Code of Military Justice During a Time of War] passed prospectively last year in an effort to create greater legal accountability for military contractors in general does not apply to the Blackwater contractors involved in the shooting because those were employed by the US State Department. Reuters has more.