Larsen Votes to Hold Private Contractors in War Zones Accountable for Criminal Behavior</A

Oct 4, 2007

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement today in support of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act Expansion and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2740), legislation to hold private contractors in war zones accountable in U.S. courts for any criminal behavior.  The bill passed the House today by a vote of 389 to 30.

“Private contractors working for the United States should not be above the law.  They should not be exempt from prosecution in U.S. courts for crimes they may have committed overseas.  The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act Expansion and Enforcement Act closes a gaping loophole to restore accountability and make it clear that criminal behavior will not be tolerated.”

Background:
In 2000, Congress passed the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), which gave U.S. courts jurisdiction over contractors employed by the Department of Defense in war zones overseas. This left a loophole for contractors working for the State Department and other agencies. The legislation passed by the House today closes this loophole to ensure that all private security contractors employed by the United States can be held accountable in U.S. courts for criminal behavior in war zones overseas.
 
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