SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
The Iraqi government announced on Wednesday that it has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country.
“The cabinet held a meeting yesterday and decided to scrap the article pertaining to security companies operating in Iraq that was issued by the CPA (Coalition Provision Authority) in 2004,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.
“It has decided to present a new law regarding this issue which will be taken in the next cabinet meeting.”
Article 1 of Section 2 of CPA order 17 issued by then US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, stipulates that the “multinational force, foreign liaison missions, their personnel, property, funds and assets and all international consultants shall be immune from Iraqi legal process.”
Iraqi authorities have been venting over Order 17 as long as I have covered the issue. I listened to a Justice Ministry official explain to me why it was illegal one afternoon last spring. But to that I had a simple response: if the Government opposes the Order, nothing stops it from putting through legislation that will repeal it. And up until recently, the Government had been all talk and no action in this regard.
But the process was admittedly not an easy one. CPA Order 17, though issued with the authority of one man—Paul Bremer—has the status of a law, as I read the arrangements surrounding the transfer of authority from June 28, 2004. And that means that a decision of the cabinet to “scrap” it would not be effective. The step should be taken by the parliament (Council of Representatives, in Arabic “Majlis an-Nuwwab” or “???? ?????? ???????”) which exercises the legislative power, including the power to amend or repeal existing laws. Of course the parliament has been virtually dysfunctional up to this point, so the government’s recourse to a cabinet decision as an alternative can be understood. But is it more than a symbolic act?
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”