A US court has thrown out the case of five US mercenaries who confessed to shooting Iraqi civilians in September 2007.
The soldiers were working for Blackwater, a private security firm hired to protect US personnel and bases during the occupation of Iraq. They shot indiscriminately into cars and a crowd at a road junction in Baghdad, killing 17 civilians.
The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has said that the Iraqi government will now file a lawsuit against Blackwater.
Private security firms were given immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law in 2003 as the occupation took hold.
For many Iraqis, the behaviour of the private firms, and their legal immunity showed the disregard of occupation forces for the lives of Iraqi people.
Since the killings, Blackwater has restructured itself as a new company called Xe, making it more difficult for the firm and the individuals to be brought to justice.