Iraq PM claims US military raid violated status of forces agreement

[JURIST] Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] denounced on Sunday a US military raid in Iraq as violating the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF; JURIST news archive]. The agreement states that any military offensives by the US are to be performed in accordance with Iraqi laws and prior notice of any military operations is be given to the Joint Military Operations Coordination Committee (JMOCC). Al-Maliki asserted that the Sunday morning attack, which killed two people, was in violation of the SOFA and that he would like to subject the responsible US forces to judicial proceedings [Reuters report]. Under the SOFA, US military personnel may be subject to Iraqi jurisdiction for grave violations of the terms of the agreement.

The SOFA was signed [JURIST report] in December and took effect on January 1. The agreement was negotiated between Iraq and the US in anticipation of the 2009 expiration of the UN mandate [text] that allowed the presence of US military in Iraq. In addition to setting the official deadlines for troop withdrawal, the SOFA gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over American military personnel and eliminates immunity [JURIST reports] for US defense contractors working within Iraq.

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