Just in time for Halloween, this is scary:

“Iraq would have the first crack at prosecuting American troops and Pentagon contractors accused of major, premeditated crimes committed outside U.S. bases and when they were off duty under a draft security pact governing military operations in the country, Iraqi officials said Wednesday.”

The rest of the article, courtesy of AP, the Air Force Times, and NIMJ in turn, is available here.

3 Responses to “Uncomfortable SOFA”

  1. No Man says:

    CAAFlog beats me to the punch again. Another interesting twist in all of this is the Iraqi approval process which could take longer to complete than the parties have–the UN “deadline” is Jan 1, 2009. Whether two legislative bodies and the Iraqi President’s Cabinet can approve this agreement by that time remains to be seen.

    Also, according to some sources, regardless of what happens with US troops, other persons subject to the UCMJ may be subject to Iraqi law starting Jan 1, 2009. There is some debate whether that will be all civilians accompanying the force or just private security civilians. And what about other civilians and contractors not affiliated with DoD that are in Iraq? Potentially the same result. We shall see.

  2. Dew_Process says:

    Wait a minute . . .

    If Iraq is a “sovereign,” then they already have an inherent right to prosecute anyone committing crimes within their borders, except on recognized Embassy grounds.

    How is this any different than say, the NATO SOFA, which gives the host country first shot at jurisdiction of off-base offenses by US Forces?

    The UCMJ just gives US the right – as a separate sovereign – to prosecute as well.

    Must be time for a beer….

  3. Anonymous says:

    And Dew Process beat me to that…

    This sort of provision is the rule, rather than the exception, in almost every SOFA.