BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 11 LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday to meet with and thank Department of Justice officials working in Iraq to rebuild the country’s legal and law enforcement infrastructure. This is Attorney General Gonzales’ third such visit during his tenure as Attorney General.
“I am pleased to see first-hand, in my third visit to Iraq, the
progress that the men and women of the Justice Department have made to
rebuild Iraq’s legal system and law enforcement infrastructure. They have
accomplished an enormous amount of work in the past four years by assisting in the training of tens of thousands of police, security and correctional personnel and prosecutors, supporting thousands of criminal investigations, and leading the Regime Crimes Liaison Office,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “Their sacrifice and commitment to the rule of law and protecting the rights and liberties of Iraqi citizens is truly inspiring.”
Attorney General Gonzales was accompanied by Michael J. Sullivan,
director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), John Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, and other Department of Justice staff.
The Attorney General met with Multi-National Force-Iraq Commanding
General David M. Petraeus upon arriving in Iraq. The Attorney General’s
agenda while in Iraq included meetings with Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker,
Department of Justice and U.S. military personnel, and various Iraqi
government officials including Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud of the
Federal Supreme Court, Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Mikha’il and
Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bulani.
FACT SHEET: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EFFORTS IN IRAQ
During the first weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Department of
Justice deployed 26 officials to Baghdad to support the Department of
Defense’s plan to assess and reconstitute the justice and law enforcement
systems in Iraq. Today, the Department of Justice has more than 200
employee and contractor personnel in the country as it assists Iraqi
efforts to promote freedom and security in a variety of areas, including
advice and training that will help to re-establish essential law
enforcement and security functions.
In March 2007, the Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq
announced a reorganization of all U.S. government Rule of Law and Law
Enforcement efforts in Iraq and named Assistant U.S. Attorney James L.
Santelle as the Rule of Law Coordinator at the Embassy. The Rule of Law and Law Enforcement community has approximately 300 members under Chief of Mission authority, all of whom report to the Deputy Chief of Mission
through Mr. Santelle. Mr. Santelle is responsible for coordinating their
activities and ensuring unity of effort with the Multi-National Force-Iraq.
The Justice Attaché at the Embassy, Judge Eric Levinson, works closely with Mr. Santelle in meeting the goals of the U.S. Mission in Iraq, which
necessarily include Justice Department prerogatives.
Through the transition of authority to the Interim Iraqi Government in 2004, the Iraqi Transitional Government in April 2005, and the first
permanent elected Iraqi Government in May 2006, Justice Department components have continued to support the Iraqi justice system in the following ways:
DOJ Law Enforcement Components
The Department of Justice’s law enforcement components provide special investigative training and assistance to Iraqi law enforcement, including the following:
— The Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) routinely investigates
high-profile cases involving assassinations of government officials,
prisoner-detainee abuses and civil rights violations, and other instances
of violent crime in Baghdad and other regions of the country. The MCTF is
composed of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) who provide managerial supervision for, and technical assistance to, highly trained Iraqi investigators.
— The FBI’s Legal Attache in Iraq provides law enforcement liaison and international assistance of various types. The FBI also has a
counterterrorism unit in Iraq and deploys rotating teams of specialists to provide counterterrorism training to the Iraqi police.
— The ATF provides specialized investigative and administrative
support to the Regime Crimes Liaison Office (RCLO) and has been a key part of RCLO task force rotations since July 2004. ATF has provided post-blast investigation and explosives/IED-related training to the Iraqi police, instructing 357 Iraqi police since December 2003. ATF is part of the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cells with the Department of Defense, and is establishing a four-person Attaché Office at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, to be deployed in October 2007.
— USMS personnel have provided protective details, safe houses and
secure courthouses for Iraqi judges, and implemented a witness security
program for Iraqi trials. The USMS has trained hundreds of security
personnel, including 120 Iraqi police assigned to the Iraqi High Tribunal
— The DEA has delivered courses in intelligence and intelligence
analysis to the Iraqi police.
Regime Crimes Liaison Office
The Department of Justice organized and now supports the RCLO, which
was designated by the President as the lead U.S. government agency for
support to the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT). The IHT has jurisdiction to
investigate charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and
violations of certain Iraqi laws, and has investigations underway against
former Iraqi officials.
— The RCLO consists of approximately 140 personnel, including about 80 in Baghdad (investigative agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and USMS;
prosecutors; military officers; and foreign nationals).
— Approximately 35 Iraqis are employed at the RCLO’s Secure Evidence
Unit in Baghdad and 20 linguists work as translators in Iraq and other
locations in the region.
— At various times, the RCLO may also employ as many as 20 personnel
from the Army Corps of Engineers and specialized contractors in the field.
These include anthropologists, archaeologists, pathologists, and other
forensic scientists working on the exhumations of mass graves and the
preservation of evidence, as well as investigative consultants and
international humanitarian law experts.
Prosecutorial Training and Assistance
The primary focus of the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas
Prosecutorial Development (OPDAT) is to assist the Iraqi justice sector in enhancing sustainable institutions built on rule of law principles. Its many accomplishments and activities to date include:
— In May and June 2003, OPDAT deployed an assessment team to advise
the Coalition Provisional Authority on the state of the Iraqi justice
system and provide recommendations on comprehensive criminal justice
reform, judicial training and court policy implementation.
— The OPDAT Iraq Program currently has six Resident Legal Advisors,
including a lead RLA in Baghdad working with the Justice Attache at the
U.S. Embassy. Four RLAs are deployed to Provincial Reconstruction Teams
(PRTs) in Iraqi provinces – one in Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit and Baghdad – with a fifth RLA assigned to the Law and Order Task Force in Baghdad. The RLAs work with the Embassy, the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, provincial courts, the Iraqi Higher Juridical Council and court personnel on a variety of issues related to criminal justice, rule of law, and other matters involving the delivery of justice to the citizens of Iraq.
— Over 563 Iraqi jurists and prosecutors have been trained in courses developed and/or delivered by OPDAT RLAs in Iraq, including topics such as human rights, scientific evidence and special challenges presented by the prosecution of insurgency and terrorist cases.
— RLAs assisted in establishing a judicial review commission that
reviewed the credentials of approximately 869 Iraqi judges. At the end of
the process, 135 judges were moved due to Ba’athist Party affiliation
and/or evidence of corruption.
— OPDAT facilitated the creation of a Central Criminal Court of Iraq
panel for Ninewa Province (Mosul), consisting of judges from Baghdad who
travel to Mosul to hear terrorism and major crime cases. The first four
panels tried 135 cases involving 165 defendants, 96 of whom were convicted.
— RLAs coordinated and designed curriculum for courses presented to
622 Iraqi police investigators and police trainers relating to Iraqi
criminal law and the gathering and preservation of evidence.
Police Training and Assistance
The Criminal Division’s International Criminal Investigative Training
Assistance Program’s (ICITAP) efforts in Iraq, in coordination with its
Coalition partners, constitute the largest international police training
program ever undertaken. As a component of the Civilian Police Assistance
Training Team (CPATT), ICITAP personnel have accomplished the following:
— More than 192,000 Iraqi police have been trained in courses
developed and/or delivered by ICITAP/CPATT and ICITAP-trained Iraqi
— More than 22,500 Iraqi police have participated in specialized and
advanced training to date, including programs covering basic criminal
investigations, interviews and interrogations, critical incident
management, civil disorder management, violent crimes and kidnapping.
— ICITAP/CPATT provided training to the Iraq Police Service for
planning and adequate security during the January and December 2005
elections and the October 2005 referendum, resulting in international
recognition for Iraqi police conduct and effectiveness in successfully
securing polling stations.
— ICITAP/CPATT founded and currently advises the Baghdad Police
College, the Irbil Police College, and 10 regional basic training
facilities throughout Iraq.
Anti-Corruption Training and Assistance
The Iraq Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) was established as an
independent, autonomous governmental body whose mission is to prevent and
investigate corruption and promote transparency and the rule of law
— CPI personnel from ICITAP trained and rendered operational 146 Anti-
Corruption Unit (ACU) and 161 Special Investigative Unit (SIU)
investigators who have been given responsibility for over 6,190 public
corruption cases to date. These CPI officers are assigned to investigate
alleged acts of corruption and provide protection for public officials who
are threatened due to their cooperation with ongoing corruption
— CPI personnel have trained over 203 Facilities Protection Service
— CPI personnel assisted with the referral of more than 2,285 cases to
the Central Criminal Court of Iraq for prosecutorial opinion.
— CPI personnel have provided a 22-week polygraph school for 11 Iraqi
— CPI personnel have trained 99 Personal Security Detail Officers.
Correctional Training and Assistance
The Iraq Corrections Service (ICS) Development Program has led the U.S.
government efforts to reconstitute, develop, and train personnel who are
critical to a modern Iraqi corrections system.
— Within the first three months, ICS personnel reinstituted operations
of prison facilities in the Baghdad region and stood up an initial guard
force to begin intake of criminal detainees.
— More than 8,100 corrections officers graduated from
ICITAP-established training programs, including the National Corrections
Training Academy and various regional pre-service training courses.
Training focuses on human rights practices and international standards.
— ICS personnel developed and assisted with the implementation of a
records review system that ultimately resulted in the release of more than 175 detainees from the Diyalah Provincial Jail. This records review system has become a standard operating procedure and has provide essential in the timely review of detainee cases.
— ICS personnel assisted in the closure of the Abu Ghraib Prison in
February 2006. Approximately 2,000 inmates were transferred out of the
— Under the supervision and training of ICITAP staff, ICS personnel
continue to develop practical skills and professional status in
anticipation of their assumption of management and security responsibility for prisons and detention centers throughout Iraq.