Iraqi Group to Sue US for 2003 Invasion

A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, 2 April 2003. (photo: Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson/US Navy)
A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, 2 April 2003. (photo: Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson/US Navy)
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By teleSUR
06 October 16

After the U.S. Congress struck down sovereign immunity and allowed citizens to sue Saudi Arabia, Iraqis say they deserve to do the same against the U.S.
n the wake of the recently approved U.S. 9/11 bill, an Iraqi group is lobbying the country’s parliament to sue the United States over the 2003 invasion that ousted late President Saddam Hussein, killed and displaced millions of people and unleashed a major sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region over the past 16 years.

The Arab Project in Iraq said it was calling on the Iraqi parliament to approve a bill for forming an independent body made up of lawyers and legal experts that would seek compensation from the U.S. over civilian deaths and damage to property during and after the invasion.

The group said that as part of a 2008 agreement between Washington and Baghdad, individuals, families and government bodies were barred from suing U.S. and British forces operating in the country in Iraqi courts and that they could only do so in U.S. courts.

“From its end, the Arab Project in Iraq announces setting up a website for receiving applications for compensations from citizens, and will form a team of international lawyers to take these cases to U.S. courts,” the group said in a statement signed by its secretary general Khamis Khanjar, according to

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act was vetoed by President Barack Obama last week before the U.S. Congress overrode his veto and approved it in a dramatic showdown between lawmakers and the White House.

The bill was proposed after several families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks wanted to sue Saudi Arabia over alleged sponsorship of those who carried out the attacks. The majority of the attackers were Saudi nationals.

However, Obama warned that the law would see other countries attempting to do the same to the U.S. as the bill eroded the sovereign impunity the U.S. granted foreign countries against being sued for acts of terrorism.

Sovereign immunity, a doctrine practiced by most nations in the world, shields foreign countries from being answerable in another country’s courts.

Legal experts say nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, that have been affected by U.S. activities such as drones could now decide to hold Washington responsible for deaths and destruction caused by such policies. Countries receiving military aid, such as Israel and Palestine, could also sue.

“I’m sure some countries would be interested in saying our military aid to Israel is aiding and abetting things that they would allege are sometimes war crimes against the Palestinians,” Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at Columbia University told ABC News last week. “We normally benefit significantly by being able to say we have immunity from those kinds of claims around the world.”

Most recent estimates say more than 200,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003 as a direct result of the U.S. invasion, although some calculate the figure to be as high as a million people.

More than 70 percent of those were civilians. Meanwhile, more than three million people remain either internally displaced or have fled the country as refugees.

Categories Iraq War

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