US troops in Iraq will now have to obtain search warrants before raiding suspects

November 21st, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Baghdad, Nov 21 (ANI): A new status-of-forces agreement between Washington and Baghdad will make it mandatory for the US forces in Iraq to first obtain warrants before searching Iraqi homes or detaining terrorist suspects.

The agreement comes into effect on Jan. 1.

As per the agreement, the US forces would first need to have a search warrant signed by an Iraqi judge before they enter into a house for search or detain a terror suspect. Though the agreement still requires approval from the Iraqi legislature.

Unidentified US military sources said at least some units of the 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad would begin obtaining warrants from Iraqi legal authorities next month before making arrests or searching homes for weapons caches and other contraband in noncombat situations, reported the Washington Times.

According to the sources, discussions have been held between some US military officials and their Iraqi counterparts on procedures the US soldiers will have to follow to get the warrants. Thus far, no guidelines have been issued, the sources said.

I really don”t know how it is going to work out. I don”t know how to get them yet, said Maj. Geoff Greene, executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, which operates in east Baghdad. He, however, added that he expects to receive guidance soon about how to obtain the search warrants

The need for warrants is stipulated in the status-of-forces agreement signed this week in Baghdad by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. The accord would provide a three-year legal framework for a continued US military presence in Iraq.

Warrants are a key provision of the agreement. Currently, U.S. troops do not need Iraqi permission to search homes or detain Iraqis. Under the agreement, they would still not need warrants if they are in the midst of a battle. (ANI)

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