catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Justice in Iraq (US-style)

with 43 comments

Baghdad:… Khalaf, an Industry Ministry employee seized by American troops who said they found 10 blasting caps and 100 sticks of TNT… stood… [before] a panel of three Iraqi judges of the central court.

The judges reviewed the evidence presented by an American military lawyer—testimony from two soldiers, photographs and a sketch of the scene… Khalaf had no lawyer.

The judges appointed one, but Khalaf had no chance to speak with him. Khalaf told the judges that the soldiers were probably chasing a rogue nephew and denied that the explosives were his or ever in his house.

“Let me examine the pictures,” he insisted. The judges ignored him. His lawyer said nothing, beyond declaring Khalaf’s innocence. The trial lasted 15 minutes.

The judges conducted six trials of similar length and depth before lunch, then deliberated for four minutes. Five defendents were found guilty; one was acquitted. “The evidence is enough,” Judge Saeb Khorsheed Ahmed said in convicting Khalaf. “Thirty years.”

…The stakes are rising. The court has begun sentencing… prisoners to death by hanging; 14 have been sentenced this year.

Almost every aspect of the judicial system is lacking, poorly serving not just detainees but also Iraqi citizens and troops trying to maintain order.

Soldiers who have little if any training in gathering evidence or sorting the guilty from the innocent are left to decide whom to detain. The military conducts reviews to decide whom to release, yet neither Iraqi prisoners nor defense lawyers are allowed to attend…

Tens of thousands of prisoners have been released… often under political pressure… but American soldiers complain they are apprehending many dangerous insurgents again and again. At the same time, detainees are held for long periods… without being charged, in some instances for as long as two years.

Even prisoners who are formally charged and brought to court have little ability to mount defenses.

Most defense lawyers are appointed by the court… they are largely unable to gather evidence because of the threat of violence.

One American lawyer said that in 100 cases he handled, not one defense lawyer had introduced evidence or witnesses…

Even though the U.S. military helps to prosecute cases… it does not always release detainees whose cases are dismissed, officials acknowledged in interviews… this has happened… in about 4 percent of cases.

Michael Moss, IHT, Monday, 18 November 2006, p. 1; an online version is here.

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Written by Admin

December 19, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

43 Responses

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  1. Thats not American justice.

    Thats Iraqi justice.

    This fellow isn’t going to be hanged is he?

    The Americans are only the muscle here.

    GMB

    December 19, 2006 at 2:35 pm

  2. It’s usual to include a link with this sort of report.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/17/africa/web.1217justice.php

    Not sure how much credibility to give it. Michael Moss may just be another Paul McGeough. Pass the salt please.

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 2:37 pm

  3. what does that mean Whyisitso

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 19, 2006 at 2:40 pm

  4. You know bloody well what it means, Homer.

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 2:43 pm

  5. But at least the heading seems to point to some sort of objectivity:

    “Iraq’s legal system staggers beneath the weight of war.”

    There is no peace without victory. When we think about Pinochet we should think about how it could have been an Iraqi situation or worse.

    And when we think about Iraq we’ve got to think about how they must win so that they can have a normal healthy civilian life.

    And basically what that amounts to is pushing the violence outside its own borders.

    GMB

    December 19, 2006 at 2:49 pm

  6. If I knew that I wouldn’t have asked.

    I know you dislike the SMH so is it merely because he is part of SMH or is there more to it.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 19, 2006 at 2:52 pm

  7. I’ve popped in a link to the original, whyisitso. To me this suggests a system that is not so much deliberately unjust as utterly broken. As Graeme alludes to in his comment, there is nothing ‘healthily normal’ about living like this.

    Pulling out of Iraq would achieve nothing (and the article doesn’t seem to suggest it would), but we’d better come up with some decent solutions to stuff like this if we’re (ie the CoW) going to stay.

    skepticlawyer

    December 19, 2006 at 3:44 pm

  8. McGeough has no credibility at all. he’s just a story-teller (he makes them up) and a rumour-monger.

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/16/1089694568757.html?oneclick=true

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 4:09 pm

  9. cripes Whyisitso.
    he had another Journalist verify it.

    Can’t you Balir etc do some work before you whings about something.

    You might say the journailst was a friend of his!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 19, 2006 at 4:10 pm

  10. “he had another Journalist verify it”

    You gotta be joking Homer. How the fuck can journalists verify anything?

    You might as well get a Mafia don to verify one of his brothers.

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 4:19 pm

  11. “Can’t you Balir etc do some work before you whings about something”

    Is this some sort of Eastwood pidgin, Homer?

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 4:21 pm

  12. whyisitso knows it’s not true because he doesn’t want to believe it

    John Humphreys

    December 19, 2006 at 4:26 pm

  13. well Whyisitso we need to know who in your esteemed opinion can verify it happened.
    Mc Goo said it happened in front of him and another journalist.
    The other journalist agreed.

    Given that you and the rest of the Howard apologists have shown yourselves as lazy as the journalist you criticize it may well prove a time for some cogitation.

    Obviously research isn’t your forte.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 19, 2006 at 4:28 pm

  14. “Is this some sort of Eastwood pidgin, Homer? ”

    LOL. You had me guffawing with that one, whyisitso…

    Jason Soon

    December 19, 2006 at 4:31 pm

  15. “well Whyisitso we need to know who in your esteemed opinion can verify it happened.”

    I don’t need to “prove” anything. It’s the job of the accuser to provide proof if he values his credibility. The word of another journalist has no cred at all.

    It’s a pretty stupid proposition that any sceptic has to prove something didn’t happen. Hell you can list billions of things that didn’t happen yesterday. they outnumber things that did happen billions to one.

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 4:34 pm

  16. The solution is victory.

    And the first step to victory is for all the allies to slash their non-defense spending.

    GMB

    December 19, 2006 at 4:55 pm

  17. here is a sick idea. maybe the allies are happy with the current situation. a war between two major sects of islam can’t be such a bad thing….

    drscroogemcduck

    December 19, 2006 at 7:33 pm

  18. your problem whyisitso is twofold.

    Firstly your slothful attitude to knowing about the said topic shows you have accused Mc Goo of the wrong thing.

    All he had to do was to verify it which he did.
    Another person backed his story up unfortunately it seems journalist do not make witnesses perhaps solicitors only do.

    I will bear this in mind

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 19, 2006 at 7:41 pm

  19. And secondly Homer?

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 7:51 pm

  20. My mother and aunts used to use that phrase, “I will bear this in mind”, its a real anglo put down.

    Its a genarational thing

    rog

    December 19, 2006 at 8:01 pm

  21. “It’s a pretty stupid proposition that any sceptic has to prove something didn’t happen”

    Well, maybe not “proof” but if you acccuse someone of lying, you do need to say why you think this is a lie.

    Boris

    December 19, 2006 at 9:05 pm

  22. McGeough accused Allawi of a crime far worse than lying (which is merely occupational best practice for adherents of the journalist profession) on nothing more than hearsay. It’s mcG who had a lot of proving to do and he failed miserably. That’s enough to damn him.

    whyisitso

    December 19, 2006 at 9:12 pm

  23. Well, if he talked to several people who claimed to have witnessed this, then it is only proper he reported this. It would be stange if journalists only reported things proven beyond reasonable doubt, wouldn’t it?

    As to the report linked to this post, this is entirely biased and I wouldn’t even read to the end.

    Boris

    December 19, 2006 at 9:29 pm

  24. My thanks again for link whyisitso. Normally I’d link, but did all this from paper in a plane & just posted on arrival.

    Kodjo

    December 19, 2006 at 10:02 pm

  25. Justice in Iraq (Saddam-style).

    C.L.

    December 19, 2006 at 10:29 pm

  26. CL, I don’t think anyone is suggesting Saddam was a good guy. I remember that even those extreme leftists who went to Iraq to serve as human shields had nasty things to say about him.

    However we’ve got to be realistic as to what you can achieve in this kind of society. And that is what the US and its allies have utterly faile to do.

    BTW the title of this post is misleading. The US is not administering justice in Iraq, and can do only so much.

    Boris

    December 19, 2006 at 10:42 pm

  27. Yes, well, the human shields went to Iraq to preserve the reign of a mass murderer and were, objectively, defenders of fascism. I have no doubt they offered boilerplate condemnations of Saddam for the benefit of the cameras.

    …we’ve got to be realistic as to what you can achieve in this kind of society.

    The same thing was said about Japanese and German culture. In an amount of time no longer than ONE US Presidential term, a British-style justice system hasn’t emerged.

    Australia’s justice system strung a man up by the neck less than 50 years ago.

    But oh no – we’ve utterly failed.

    This is international relations as seen through the eyes of the Nintendo generation.

    I’m bored – *click*

    If we want to admit that Iraq is not capable of establishing and defending a rule of law, then we may as well abolish the United Nations because its charters and goals speak of justice and democracy as universal necessities.

    C.L.

    December 19, 2006 at 11:08 pm

  28. “CL, I don’t think anyone is suggesting Saddam was a good guy. ”

    Thats why they are so evil Boris.

    They knew he was evil and some of them even knew the things he did.

    And STILL they wanted him in power.

    There is no prophetic thinking in what they were about either. They didn’t predict a damn thing.

    They just wanted Saddam there and there can be no doubt about it.

    GMB

    December 20, 2006 at 12:21 am

  29. “here is a sick idea. maybe the allies are happy with the current situation. a war between two major sects of islam can’t be such a bad thing…”

    Well lets engineer that then.

    But thats not whats happening. If that was what was happening then there would be Saudi tanks going up against Iranian planes.

    But instead we have Iraqi AND Saudi money murdering Iraqi civilians.

    And there need be no end to this.

    The two sides will not wear themselves down to harmlessness murdering Iraqi civilians.

    And they aren’t ever going to get sick of murdering Iraqi civilians.

    And its not going to stop until the allies (including the Iraqis)stop it.

    And we should stop it.

    GMB

    December 20, 2006 at 12:30 am

  30. CL I have had no sympathy for these lunatics.

    However I can understand where they were coming from. They say “war is not the answer”. I thought it was. But was it? I am not sure.

    Currently Iraq is a war zone. Is it better than under Saddam? Maybe it is. But it is difficult to classify it as even a moderate success. There was no insurgency like this either in Japan or Germany. And my pessimism about the soicety is not ideological. It is what we see.

    Saddam’s crimes were well known for many decades. Nobody even thought of punishing him for these crimes until at least his invasion of Kuwait. Thus portraying the Iraq invasion as some kind of humanitarian operation to rid Iraqi people of its tyrant does not wash.

    The US and its allies had serious reasons to remove Saddam. Chief of which was to show the world and in particular to the middle east what will happen if they defy the US, renege on committments given to the US, and continue to support terrorism.

    But having good reasons is not enough. They also ought to have good plans. In this department the US has utterly failed. Their views on this were utterly naive.

    This morning I heard an interview with Ken Adelman http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/061120ta_talk_goldberg/
    . He said if he knew how incompetent the administraton was, he would not have advised invasion.

    Boris

    December 20, 2006 at 2:20 am

  31. I think its more the bureaucracy then the administration. Who are not only hopeless but would be treasonous if they were smart enough to realise it.

    The administration hesitated when they had been backed up against the wall by political warfare.

    They’ve got to push the violence across the Iraqi borders.

    The best way to deal with an insurgency is to start a few of your own.

    GMB

    December 20, 2006 at 2:34 am

  32. “It would be stange if journalists only reported things proven beyond reasonable doubt”

    Yes it would certainly be highly unusual. That’s why I call them nothing but gossip-mongers. And the tone of reports from people like McG make it clear they think their highly biassed opinions must be believed as fact beyond reasonable doubt. Any scepticism is deemed to be unreasonable.

    whyisitso

    December 20, 2006 at 7:33 am

  33. Whyisitso,
    You are getting deeper into the morass.

    Can I suggest you actually read what he said.

    P.S.

    it wasn’t hearsay. It was said directly to him in the presence of the other said journalist.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 8:35 am

  34. Boris, as for the potency of the American resolve exhibited under this President, would you say it’s more likely or less likely that, for example, Syria would now materially facilitate a homeland attack on the US in some way? British-style democracy in Iraq or not, I’d say less. Ask Libya about that.

    This is a vast improvement on the utterly failed policy of the former administration which did nothing to respond to several terrorist attacks for several years and whose weakness has been cited repeatedly by bin Laden as the chief motivating factor in his strategic undertaking to declare war on America.

    The same people responsible for the disaster of the 90s – “realists” like James Baker and Bill Clinton – are now lining up to criticise the “plans” of a President who has overthrown not one but two tyrannies and also waged a campaign against terrorists that has killed thousands of them.

    C.L.

    December 20, 2006 at 9:35 am

  35. Cl is going gaga.

    Why would Syria or any country attempt to attack the US who possess some 50,000 potent actual WMDS you know the ones that kill people!

    Actually the chief motivating factor for attacking the great Satan was infidel soldiers in Saudi Arabia as almost any book on this subject has shown.

    Instead of concentrating the US forces in Afghanistan Bush decided to invade Iraq so now he has two messes and no solutions

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 9:55 am

  36. Homer is cerebrally AWOL this morning.

    I didn’t say Syria would attack the United States. I asked if it was more likely or less likely that it would “materially facilitate” any attack – as nations did prior to 9/11.

    The major encouragement to bin Ladenism was afforded by the failed Clinton administration which surrendered to terrorists for several years, attacked Sudan and sat on a 1995 warning about airplane attacks on American buildings until it left office in disgrace.

    C.L.

    December 20, 2006 at 10:16 am

  37. same answer CL.

    the US would nuke any nation that did so.

    CL also ignores the repeated reason why Usama has gone on his terrorist spree which is US soldiers in Saudi Arabia.

    If he actually compared administrations he would see no difference in any administration reaction to any terrorist attack.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 10:37 am

  38. …the US would nuke any nation that did so.

    The US nuked Afghanistan after 9/11?

    Bin Laden cited Howard’s action in East Timor also – I didn’t know that nation was a part of Saudi Arabia until Geography 101 with Homer.

    C.L.

    December 20, 2006 at 10:50 am

  39. CL,

    Afghanistan is no Syria.

    Err CL go back much earlier than that of East Timor.

    That is after the fact not before.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 10:53 am

  40. You were saying the US would nuke “any nation” that facilitated a homeland attack on America.

    Now you’re saying it wouldn’t.

    Whatever.

    C.L.

    December 20, 2006 at 11:05 am

  41. Err Afghanistan cannot be compared to Syria.

    One had a well ordered Government the other didn’t.
    you couldn’t even say the Taliban was in charge of the whole Country. They merely made agreements with Warlords.

    Syria or any other country in the vicinity is a vastly different kettle of fish

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 11:56 am

  42. “CL also ignores the repeated reason why Usama has gone on his terrorist spree which is US soldiers in Saudi Arabia.”

    Oh suddenly we found the real cause of all Islamic terror around the world.

    The silliest thing on this thread in my view.

    Boris

    December 20, 2006 at 9:54 pm

  43. CL, I largely agree with your comment #34. However this is to be balanced against the damage done to the US image by the current situiation in Iraq (not to mention American lives). While Lybia and Syria may have been positively influenced, Iran is as defiant as ever and for good reasons. They see the US cannot leave Iraq without help from Iran and they are enjoying this moment.

    It’s a two-way street.

    Boris

    December 20, 2006 at 9:57 pm


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