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Reported Killings of Iraqi Civilians by U.S. Forces - U.S. Foreign Claims Act

 

Background

 

“In February 2006, nervous American soldiers in Tikrit killed an Iraqi fisherman on the Tigris River after he leaned over to switch off his engine. A year earlier, a civilian filling his car and an Iraqi Army officer directing traffic were shot by American soldiers in a passing convoy in Balad, for no apparent reason. The incidents are among many thousands of claims submitted to the Army by Iraqi and Afghan civilians seeking payment for noncombat killings, injuries or property damage American forces inflicted on them or their relatives. […]”

Excerpt of a New York Times article from April 12th, 2007.

U.S. Soldier pays out an Iraqi woman

The U.S. Foreign Claims Act

 

The Foreign Claims Act, (10 U.S.C. § 2734-2736), or FCA, is a United States federal law enacted on 2 January 1942 that provides compensation to inhabitants of foreign countries for personal injury, death, or property damage caused by, or incident to noncombat activities of United States military personnel overseas.

 

Although the U.S. Government’s scope of liability under the FCA is broad, certain classes of claimants and certain types of claims are excluded from the statute’s coverage. Procedures for adjudicating an FCA claim are substantially different from the general procedural pattern for other types of claims against the government. Chapter VIII, part B, of the Judge Advocate General's Corps Manual prescribes the requirements for the investigation and adjudication of FCA claims. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Excerpt of the U.S. Law

 

10 USCS § 2734 (2004) Foreign Claims Act

Title 10. Armed Forces

Subtitle A. General Military Law

Part Iv. Service, Supply, And Procurement

Chapter 163. Military Claims

 

§ 2734. Property loss; personal injury or death: incident to noncombat activities of the armed forces; foreign countries

 

(a) To promote and to maintain friendly relations through the prompt settlement of meritorious claims, the Secretary concerned, or an officer or employee designated by the Secretary, may appoint, under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, one or more claims commissions, each composed of one or more officers or employees or combination of officers or employees of the armed forces, to settle and pay in an amount not more than $ 100,000, a claim against the United States for

(1) damage to, or loss of, real property of any foreign country or of any political subdivision or inhabitant of a foreign country, including damage or loss incident to use and occupancy;

(2) damage to, or loss of, personal property of any foreign country or of any political subdivision or inhabitant of a foreign country, including property bailed to the United States; or

(3) personal injury to, or death of, any inhabitant of a foreign country;

if the damage, loss, personal injury, or death occurs outside the United States, or the Territories, Commonwealths, or possessions and is caused by, or is otherwise incident to noncombat activities of, the armed forces under his jurisdiction, or is caused by a member thereof or by a civilian employee of the military department concerned or the Coast Guard, as the case may be. The claim of an insured, but not that of a subrogee, may be considered under this subsection. In this section, "foreign country" includes any place under the jurisdiction of the United States in a foreign country. An officer or employee may serve on a claims commission under the jurisdiction of another armed force only with the consent of the Secretary of his department, or his designee, but shall perform his duties under regulations of the department appointing the commission.

(b) A claim may be allowed under subsection (a) only if

(1) it is presented within two years after it accrues;

(2) in the case of a national of a country at war with the United States, or of any ally of that country, the claimant is determined by the commission or by the local military commander to be friendly to the United States; and

(3) it did not arise from action by an enemy or result directly or indirectly from an act of the armed forces of the United States in combat, except that a claim may be allowed if it arises from an accident or malfunction incident to the operation of an aircraft of the armed forces of the United States, including its airborne ordnance, indirectly related to combat, and occurring while preparing for, going to, or returning from a combat mission.

(c) The Secretary concerned may appoint any officer or employee under the jurisdiction of the Secretary to act as an approval authority for claims determined to be allowed under subsection (a) in an amount in excess of $ 10,000.

(d) If the Secretary concerned considers that a claim in excess of $ 100,000 is meritorious, and the claim otherwise is payable under this section, the Secretary may pay the claimant $ 100,000 and report any meritorious amount in excess of $ 100,000 to the Secretary of the Treasury for payment under section 1304 of title 31.

(e) Except as provided in subsection (d), no claim may be paid under this section unless the amount tendered is accepted by the claimant in full satisfaction.

(f) Upon the request of the department concerned, a claim arising in that department and covered by subsection (a) may be settled and paid by a commission appointed under subsection (a) and composed of officers of an armed force under the jurisdiction of another department.

(g) Payment of claims against the Coast Guard arising while it is operating as a service in the Department of Homeland Security shall be made out of the appropriation for the operating expenses of the Coast Guard.

(h) The Secretary of Defense may designate any claims commission appointed under subsection (a) to settle and pay, as provided in this section, claims for damage caused by a civilian employee of the Department of Defense other than an employee of a military department. Payments of claims under this subsection shall be made from appropriations as provided in section 2732 of this title. […] (Source: U.S. Army)

 

Media Reports

 

April 12th, 2007 - Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War

1 news article by the New York Times

 

 

Photo Credits

 

1) Miad Matar gets $ 2,000 from Sgt. Guadalupe Sorola after her husband was killed by American forces at a checkpoint in Iraq. - March 11th, 2004 - Joao Silva/New York Times;

 

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