[JURIST] The Iraqi Interior Ministry is proposing draft legislation to be submitted to the Iraqi parliament that places private security contractors under Iraqi legal jurisdiction, a ministry spokesperson said Tuesday. The legislation, drafted in response to the domestic outrage at a September 16 incident in which Blackwater USA [corporate website] contractors allegedly killed 11 unarmed civilians, will overturn an exemption [PDF text] which allows US security contractors to largely operate outside of Iraqi law [JURIST report]. The exception was granted by the US government when it controlled the Coalition Provisional Authority.
On Saturday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced that investigators have referred the September 16 incident to an investigating judge [JURIST report], who will review the evidence and decide whether to proceed with a criminal prosecutions. A recent US bill [text, see S. 552, Clarification of Application of Uniform Code of Military Justice During a Time of War], passed last year in an effort create greater legal accountability for military contractors, does not apply to the Blackwater contractors in the incident because they were employed by the US State Department. AP has more.