UPDATE: Reader Olga, who I met at the American Veterans Conference in September sends a link to t Memorandum of Agreement that admits there is no coherent legislation covering private contractors in Iraq. This was signed October of 2007 after the Nisour Square incident.
Reader and lawyer RJ sent along some analysis of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act and a Law Review article discussing it. Guess what, it's pretty unanimous, DOES NOT APPLY.
Congressional Action - It is interesting that even Congress doubts the applicability of the law to the Blackwater Contractors. In the MEJA EXPANSION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2007, HOUSE REPORT NO. 110-352, September 27, 2007, Mr. Conyers, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following, a report to accompany H.R. 2740, which stated, in part,
“It would amend the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act ("MEJA") [FN1], which criminalizes offenses committed outside the United States by members of the Armed Forces and certain Defense Department contractors, but does not cover all contractors providing services in an overseas military operation.”;
“An estimated 180,000 contractors are currently working in Iraq, and thousands more are working in Afghanistan and elsewhere. [FN2] Unfortunately, the current law does not make all of these contractors accountable for their criminal conduct … The vast majority of armed contractors performing security functions overseas, however, are not subject to any of these laws.
MEJA is also limited jurisdictionally. As originally enacted in 2000, the Act authorized Federal courts to have jurisdiction over only civilian employees, contractors, and subcontractors affiliated with the Defense Department who commit crimes overseas. In 2005, the Act was amended to expand the court's jurisdiction to include employees of any other Federal agency "supporting the mission of the Department of Defense overseas." [FN3] In practice, however, many contractors are not contracted through the Defense Department, but through other agencies such as USAID or the Department of Interior, and they do not work directly in support of Defense Department missions.
Although not affiliated with the Defense Department, these contractors usually work under the aegis of the United States government, in pursuit of our Nation's objectives, and on activities that directly impact the success of United States military and civilian missions overseas. Nevertheless, these contractors are not subject to any applicable law imposing criminal liability for criminal actions that they commit. It is essential that the Federal Government have a mechanism for holding such contractors accountable in the event of criminal misconduct.
At the time of this report, Congressional and Administration authorities were investigating an incident in which at least 11 Iraqi civilians were apparently killed by employees of Blackwater, a contracting firm operating under the State Department. [FN4] The incident enraged the Iraqi government, which accused the firm of shooting civilians with impunity. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also expressed "real concerns" about lack of oversight of such contractors. [FN5]”.
If John Conyers doesn't think this covers them then I'm pretty sure it DOES NOT APPLY.