BAGHDAD, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A draft "status of forces agreement" with Iraq would allow local authorities to prosecute U.S. soldiers charged with murder while off base, the document shows.
All other crimes, however, would fall under the jurisdiction of U.S. military prosecutors, a draft of the SOFA obtained by CNN reveals. Also under the proposed agreement, U.S. troops must withdraw from Iraqi cities by July 30, 2009, and exit the country entirely by Dec. 31, 2011.
Legal jurisdiction over the activities of U.S. soldiers and contractors has been a stumbling block in the negotiation of the status of forces agreement, which is meant to replace a U.N. mandate legitimizing the presence of occupying forces in the country, which expires Dec. 31.
Many Iraqi lawmakers, especially in its Shiite parliamentary bloc, has been pushing hard for jurisdiction over the in-country activities of U.S. forces. The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance bloc has indicated the draft agreement is still unacceptable, CNN reported. The group says it has found several "points" in the draft that "need more time for discussion, dialogue and amendments (to) some of its articles."