Citing unidentified military sources, the Washington Times is reporting today that the US forces in Iraq will begin, as soon as December 1, to apply for warrants from Iraqi courts before detaining suspects or searching homes.
A key portion of the yet-to-be-ratified Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Iraq is that US forces will have to apply for Iraqi issued warrants to search homes, and that they must hand over detainees to the Iraqi authorities within 24 hours of their capture. Previously, the US forces broke into Iraqi homes unannounced at their own discretion, and routinely detained Iraqis for months on end without filing charges against them.
The move is set to begin a month before the SOFA, if approved, would go into effect. Major Rob McMillan is quoted as saying the early start is for “practice” and to identify potential problems in the novel procedure of seeking a legal basis before raiding the homes of Iraqi citizens.