Baghdad urged to regulate use of foreign security contractors
The Iraqi government was urged on Friday to enact a law regulating the use and activities of private military contractors who would replace US troops being withdrawn from the country, DPA reported.
"While US troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of the year, security contractors are there to stay," said Jose Luis Gomez del Prado, who chairs the UN working group on the use of mercenaries. "The urgency to regulate their activities couldn't be greater."
The working group met this week at UN headquarters to discuss activities by private contractors in Iraq. It said an expected 5,500 private contractors would be hired in coming years to replace US troops and they are not bound by military agreements between Baghdad and Washington.
The group said private military companies are increasingly called to provide security to multinational corporations operating in Iraq, while there is no existing Iraqi law regulating their work or addressing how to prosecute any crimes they commit.
The group cited the cases of US contractors who claimed immunity from Iraqi justice after they were accused of alleged human rights violations.
"US security contractors have been involved in serious human rights violations in Iraq," del Prado said at a news conference. "It is imperative that those responsible for such violations are prosecuted. Victims and their families are still waiting for justice."