Monday, June 30, 2008

Iraq’s Judiciary Under Attack

The last few days has seen a wave of attacks on Iraq’s judiciary. On June 27 Senior Judge Kamil al-Showaili was assassinated while driving in eastern Baghdad. Today, June 30, five bombs went off targeting judges. The houses of Judge Sulaiman Abdullah, Judge Ali al-Alaq, Judge Ghanim Janab, Judge Alaa al-Timimi, and Judge Hassan Fouad were all damaged with people wounded, but no one killed. All of them work for Baghdad’s two appeals courts. A spokesman for the High Judicial Council said the obvious when he noted that the attacks must have been coordinated. He went on to say that the Council was building secure housing for the judges to protect them. According to the government 21 judges have been killed from 2004 to 2006.

Iraq’s judicial system has struggled since Americans rebuilt it after the 2003 invasion. Iraq’s courts have been overwhelmed with cases, especially since the Surge that caused a dramatic increase in the number of arrests. Many cases are never investigated, and police often hold prisoners for months, sometimes years without charging them. To add to the problem, the majority of prisoners are Sunnis, while the system is run by Shiites. The courts have also suffered threats, assassinations, a lack of security, and complaints of government neglect.

SOURCES

Leinwand, Donna, “Wheels of justice slowly returning to Iraqi court,” USA Today, 2/26/08

Moore, Solomon, “Thousands of New Prisoners Overwhelm Iraqi System,” New York Times, 2/14/08

UN Assistance Mission For Iraq, “Human Rights Report 1 April – 30 June 2007,” U.N., 10/12/07

Voices of Iraq, “2 Iraqi judges wounded in eastern Baghdad,” 6/30/08

Xinhua, “Bomb attacks target Iraqi judges in Baghdad,” 6/30/08

Yacoub, Sameer, “US: Arrest made following attack in Karmah, Iraq,” Associated Press, 6/27/08

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