Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced an amendment that will prevent American servicemen and women from being charged and tried in the Iraqi criminal justice system. The provision, offered as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill, passed 97-0. Graham sponsored the amendment along with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California).
Graham noted that while the vast majority of U.S. troops are serving honorably and without incident, some Iraqi officials have called for the right to charge and prosecute Americans for alleged crimes against Iraqis. This provision clearly rejects that line of thought and places disciplinary responsibility solely on the American military.
Graham made the following statement.
“The last thing our troops in Iraq need to worry about is being prosecuted by an Iraqi court under a system of justice that is foreign to American values. This amendment will ensure that no American military personnel serving in Iraq could be prosecuted by Iraqi courts or charged by Iraqi officials.
“We have had troops stationed throughout the globe for decades and it is common practice for the American military to retain jurisdiction over any alleged crime committed by American servicemen overseas. The military takes seriously its obligation to discipline its force and to hold American troops accountable when they engage in criminal misconduct abroad. We have a great track record in vigorously prosecuting crimes against foreign nationals by military personnel and an equally good track record of providing a full and fair trial to our men and women in uniform.
“I can assure the Iraqi people that any misconduct engaged in by American military personnel will be seriously pursued and vigorously prosecuted. I can assure the American people that any serviceman or woman charged with a crime will get a full and fair trial.
“It is important for the United States Senate, and Congress as a whole, to clearly state that no American serviceman or woman serving in Iraq will ever be subject to the Iraqi criminal justice system. I hope this will relieve the concerns of the family members of those serving in Iraq.”