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Building a Judicial System for All Iraqis

The rule of law is a prerequisite for political stability, economic development and public confidence in the institutions of a constitutional democracy. While much work needs to be done, Iraq’s judicial system is functional, with criminals being tried in Iraqi courts by independent Iraqi judges. Senior Ba’athist and corrupt judges have been removed from their positions. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq hears the most serious criminal cases. In December, the Iraqi Governing Council established the Iraqi Special Tribunal, which will try senior members of the former regime for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The former regime’s decrepit and inhumane prison system is being rebuilt and modernized to meet international standards. More than 4,000 beds meeting international standards are now available for inmates sentenced by independent Iraqi judges as well as those awaiting trial in the Iraqi criminal justice system.

However, much needs to be done to build a judicial system that serves all Iraqis. The top goals for the Coalition partners and the Ministry of Justice include:

· Building a durable, honest, comprehensive anti-corruption entity.

· Ensuring smooth, expeditious, fair operation of court system.

· Instituting a workable prisons plan.

Activities underway include:

· Establishing a government-wide Commission for Public Integrity to investigate and prosecute corruption, promote transparency and ethics in government, and foster a culture of integrity

· Providing security for courts, judges, and witnesses

· Vetting all judges and prosecutors for past corruption, Ba'athist links, complicity in atrocities, and other malfeasance through the Judicial Review Committee

· Investigating and referring cases to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, and supporting that court

· Reforming judicial training and legal curricula to inculcate rule-of-law and due process norms

· Publishing CPA directives in a Legal Gazette


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