BAGHDAD, Iraq – Attorney General Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday to meet with and thank Department of Justice officials working in Iraq to rebuild the country’s legal and law enforcement infrastructure. Attorney General Gonzales also met with high-ranking Iraqi officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih and Chief Justice of the Higher Juridical Council Medhat Al-Mahmoud, as well as U.S. military personnel.
“Freedom is best sustained by the establishment of a fair and just legal system that prioritizes the rights and liberties of its citizens,” said U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “The Department of Justice is proud to help the Iraqi people establish the rule of law in their country, and I applaud the Department of Justice employees who are so dedicated to assisting in this historic effort.”
FACT SHEET: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EFFORTS IN IRAQ
During the first weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Department of Justice deployed 24 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.
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.
*In addition to its oversight of the MCTF, the FBI’s Legal Attaché 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 support and explosives-related training to the Iraqi police.
*The USMS provides court and witness security services for Iraqi judges and works to establish security programs for courts in Baghdad and throughout the country.
*The DEA has delivered courses in intelligence and intelligence analysis to the Iraqi police.
Regime Crimes Liaison Office (RCLO)
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 Saddam Hussein and other 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.
A*t 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 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.
*Today, OPDAT Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) in Baghdad and in provinces throughout the country advise the U.S. 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.
*Nearly 500 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, criminal process and special challenges presented by the prosecution of insurgency and terrorist cases.
*RLAs coordinated and designed curriculum for courses presented to over 200 Iraqi police investigators and nearly 250 police trainers relating to Iraqi criminal law and the gathering and preservation of evidence.
Police Training and Assistance
The 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 130,000 Iraqi police have been trained in courses developed and/or delivered by ICITAP/CPATT and ICITAP-trained Iraqi instructors.
*More than 15,000 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 Iraqi 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 Arbil Police College, and six 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 throughout Iraq.
*CPI personnel trained and rendered operational 180 Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and 40 Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigators who have been given responsibility for over 2,200 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 investigations.
*CPI personnel have trained over 170 Facilities Protection Service (FPS) guards.
*CPI personnel assisted with the referral of more than 750 cases to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq for prosecutorial opinion.
Correctional Training and Assistance
The Iraqi 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 4,000 new correctional officers have graduated from basic training at the National Corrections Training Academy which was established by ICS personnel. Training specifically 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.
*ICS personnel assisted in the closure of the Abu Ghraib Hard Site Prison on Feb. 29, 2006. Approximately 2,000 inmates were transferred out of the facility.
*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.