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Regional Courthouse Ready to Serve Justice in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

BASRA, Iraq, Feb. 27, 2009 – Hundreds of people celebrated the dedication yesterday of a new six-court regional justice courthouse here, slated to become the highest court in Iraq’s Basra province.

"This courthouse will be a monument of justice," Medhatt al-Mahmoud, chairman for the Iraqi Judiciary Commission, said. "Iraqi justice is very strong. It will not allow outside influences to keep it from serving justice."

The regional courthouse is a $10 million, U.S.-funded project, and is scheduled to become operational in about 10 days. It will serve as the highest court in the province, handling civil and criminal cases.

"I think this building is a reflection of the progress that the coalition and the Iraqis have made," Army Capt. Charles Bronowski, Multinational Corps Iraq judge advocate, said. "Rule of law is one of the most important aspects of self-governance."

It took Iraqi contractors about a year to complete the building, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers providing oversight.

In addition to courtrooms, the facility includes investigation rooms, legal offices, a conference room and staff training facilities.

"This is a symbol of the establishment of the rule of law and an increase in the judicial capacity," British Royal Marine Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon, commander of Multinational Division Southeast, said. "This is exactly what is required at this stage on the road from where we've been to where we've got to get to, which is a stable and peaceful Basra."

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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