Blackwater guards, shown here protecting Paul Bremer, the former U.S. administrator in Iraq, have been immune from any effective law apparatus.
The folks at Blackwater and other private security outfits in Iraq encountered a dramatic setback Wednesday after an Iraqi minister announced that private guards will no longer be given immunity from U.S military and Iraqi law, ending more than five years of unregulated mercenary violence in the country.
The US has agreed to scrap immunity for foreign security guards in Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says.
The US embassy in Baghdad has not confirmed the announcement, which comes as the US and Iraq are negotiating a controversial security pact.
Foreign firms employing thousands of guards won huge contracts in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, but were not subject to Iraqi or US military law.
Iraqi frustration became fury last year when guards killed 17 people in a day.