Washington, DC — The U.S. government is bypassing the United Nations and is granting its own forces immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the June 30 handover of control.
U.S. administrator Paul Bremer is expected to extend by at least six months an order that gives all foreign personnel in the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority immunity from “local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent states.”
The administration’s move comes at a time when issues of immunity are particularly sensitive in light of the scandal over the abuse of U.S. detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington Post said.
Wednesday, the administration withdrew a U.N. Security Council draft resolution seeking a one-year extension of immunity when it became clear the resolution would not get the nine votes needed on the 15-member council.
Diplomats told the Washington Times members were reluctant to endorse the extension after widespread reports of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.
World Opposition Forces US to Give Up On War Crimes Immunity
The US has given up trying to lobby the United Nations to exempt Americans from the International Criminal Court and prosecution of war crimes committed by US troops overseas including rape, torture and other crimes against humanity. The US had secured such an exemption over the past two years but it faced wide opposition this year in part due to the prison torture scandal in Iraq. Even though the UN will not be voting on the exemption, the US has already received agreements from about 90 countries not to prosecute Americans. Meanwhile in Iraq, The Bush administration has granted its own troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after June 30.