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Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training

The Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is located in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and is primarily funded by the Department of State. The focus of OPDAT’s Iraq program is assistance to the Iraqi justice sector in enhancing sustainable institutions built upon rule of law principles.

The OPDAT Iraq Program currently has ten Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) working in support of the rule of law mission. These RLAs are deployed to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq provinces. The RLAs work with the Embassy, the Higher Judicial Council, the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, provincial courts, and other justice sector institutions on a variety of issues related to criminal justice, the rule of law, and other matters involving the delivery of justice to the citizens of Iraq.

OPDAT personnel have facilitated the creation of Central Criminal Court panels for Mosul, Tikrit, and Kirkuk City. These panels, referred to as Major Crimes Courts, consist of both local and sometimes traveling judges from Baghdad who handle major felony cases that the traditional provincial courts have been unable to prosecute for security reasons. These Major Crimes Courts have been cited repeatedly by Iraqi provincial leaders for their positive impact on public perception of the criminal justice system.

Updated: June 2013