L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator
Address to the Iraqi People
For Broadcast 14 November 2003
I have often spoken of your future of hope. A future of hope must include the hope of justice. The hope for justice is in all of us.
And in a country such as Iraq, where there has been much injustice, the quest for justice takes on a special importance and urgency.
Today in Iraq justice is being done.
Not vengeance, but justice.
Iraqi judges, operating independently from the Coalition, independently from the Governing Council, render justice based on the law and the facts.
The Central Criminal Court of Iraq handles serious cases; it operates now.
Here are cases from the Central Criminal Court of Iraq:
· Iraqi fuel prices have been kept below the world market price. Until liberation some people would sell Iraqi fuel outside the country. It was against the law, but that was not a problem for people who were friends of the regime. Justice was for the special few, not for the common man.
Those days are over. Coalition naval forces captured the Merchant Vessel Navstar with 3500 tons of fuel aboard. They planned to sell the fuel in another country. The forces turned Captain Mykola Mazurenko and First Mate Ivan Soschenko over to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq.
The court found them guilty, so the Navstar and fuel became the property of your government. These criminals are now serving seven years in prison and must pay a fine of over 3,500 million dinars each. If they cannot pay the fine, they must serve 10 years in prison instead of seven.
· When Abu Munim was the governor of Najaf he put Iraqis in jail for no legal reason. He was financially corrupt. He destroyed official documents in order to conceal his other crimes.
Abu Munim is now in prison. The Central Criminal Court of sentenced him to 14 years in prison for illegal imprisonment, corruption and destruction of government documents.
· A few months ago three men were arrested in a truck with Red Crescent markings pretending to deliver relief supplies. But the truck had nothing to do with relief supplies. It contained 500 rocket-propelled grenades.
These three now face charges that could put them in prison for many years.
Other important trials will be brought before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in the coming weeks, including that of 12 men are awaiting trial for the murder of Majid Al Khoei and two other people. They face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The Central Criminal Court of Iraqi brings justice.
Nor is the Central Criminal Court the only source of justice in Iraq. Over 600 Iraqi judges preside over some 500 Iraqi courts. Since the flight of the evil one over 300 cases have been tried and the pace of judicial operations is accelerating.
You know, as do we all, that much work remains as you construct your future of hope, but in the quest for justice, as with electricity and many other things, there is real progress.
And that progress will continue. There will be difficulties. There will be difficulties because those who do not share your future of hope try every day to prevent progress. Some days they may slow progress, may even inflict setbacks.
But they fight against your future of hope.
And they will fail.
You, the millions and millions of Iraqis who want honest, open elections, who want real justice, will succeed.
And the evil doers will face justice in honest and fair Iraqi courts with honest and fair Iraqi judges.
And your future of hope is full of justice.