L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
Conditional Release Announcement
7 January 2004
This Friday, Iraq will celebrate 9 months of freedom from Saddam’s dictatorship. Since liberation, the Iraqi people have steadily acted to realize a shared vision of the new Iraq, one which is stable and democratic.
More than ever, it is clear that the old ways of coups and corruption and divide-and-rule are over in the new Iraq. The tyrant Saddam Hussein is a prisoner; most of his henchmen are dead or captured.
It is time for reconciliation, time for Iraqis to make common cause in building the new Iraq. Thousands of conversations and newspaper columns and poll after poll have shown that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis want democracy—a government that draws its legitimacy from the freely expressed will of the people.
In the coming 24 months these Iraqis will make a number of choices. They will decide the shape of democratic government when an elected assembly of Iraqis writes Iraq’s new constitution early next year. They will decide who will lead their interim and their constitutional governments.
Other Iraqis have opted against the new Iraq. They made a mistake and they know it, but we are prepared to offer some of them a new chance.
To give impetus to those Iraqis who wish to reconcile with their countrymen, we are announcing today that the Coalition will permit hundreds of currently detained Iraqis to return to their homes and to their families.
Tomorrow, the Coalition will release the first 100 detainees. While there are specific requirements for release, two are of great importance:
· First, the person released must renounce violence and,
· Second, the person released must have a guarantor, such as a prominent person in his community or a religious or tribal leader who will accept responsibility for the good conduct of the individual being set free.
Let me underscore an important point. This is not a program for those with blood-stained hands. No person involved in the death of or serious bodily harm to any human being, an Iraqi, a citizen of the Coalition or anyone else will be released. Nor will we release anyone accused of torture or crimes against humanity.
Hundreds more detainees will be freed in this way in the coming weeks. We are also exploring ways to provide greater family access to those detainees not released.
But everyone must understand that this program in no way diminishes our zeal for pursuing the major criminals who plague this country, attacking Iraqis and Coalition Forces alike.
While the Coalition seeks to promote reconciliation, we recognize that some will never reconcile themselves to democracy in Iraq or to the new Iraq.
If they remain unreconciled, if they continue to fight, the Coalition is prepared to capture or kill them and, I am convinced, the coming Iraqi Government will be prepared to do the same.
To deal with these criminals, we have announced a reward program. We will pay $10 million for information leading to the capture of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri or information that he is dead. We will also pay $1 million each for 12 other notorious criminals on our black list.
Today I am pleased to announce another rewards program. We will offer up to $200,000 in rewards for information leading to the capture of lesser criminals or information that that person is dead. The names of the individuals and the amount of the reward for each will be released within 24 hours.
Dr. Pachaci, you have pointed out to me, peace and reconciliation and sovereignty will ultimately flow not from the Coalition, but from the acts of Iraqis.
You are of course right. Reconciliation and democracy will be Iraqi achievements. We in the Coalition hope that we have made a small contribution to this process today.
On behalf of all members of the Coalition, Dr. Pachachi, I express my hope that all Iraqis will converge into the great current of democracy which will carry you and your fellow Iraqis forward to your future of hope.
Mabruk al Iraq al jadeed.