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Iraqi Legal Profession Trains for Prosecutions

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2003 – Iraqi legal community members have completed training that will help them investigate and prosecute alleged crimes committed by Saddam Hussein's regime, the senior spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority said at a Baghdad press conference today.

Dan Senor said the CPA's office of transitional justice and human rights organized and coordinated the program at the Iraqi Governing Council's request. The council selected the participants, which included judges, lawyers, prosecutors and legal professors, for the two-week advanced legal seminar in Baghdad.

Senor read from an English translation of an Arabic statement planned for release later today in describing the program for reporters.

"Seminar participants focused on the application of international legal standards to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," Senor said. Legal experts from Iraq, Great Britain, Australia, Spain and the United States led seminar discussions, which included international standards for protection of the defendant, witnesses, victims and the court and establishment of proof of crimes, he said.

"In addition," he continued, "the participants examined and discussed the recently enacted statute creating the Iraqi Special Tribunal to try key Iraqis accused of committing atrocities in Iraq between 1968 and 2003."

Senor noted the key themes of justice, reconciliation and national unity in the Iraqi Governing Council's first formal statement to the Iraqi people since Saddam's capture. The statement said Saddam's victims "cry out for justice to be restored," and that the Iraqi people have a history of "peaceful, brotherly and humane coexistence based on social harmony" among the various elements of the country's population.

"Saddam and his regime tried to subvert this harmony," Senor quoted from the council's statement, "but the values shared by the Iraqi people are stronger."

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