Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Travels to Baghdad to Visit Justice Department Personnel, U.S. Military and Iraqi Officials
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday to meet with and thank Department of Justice officials working in Iraq to rebuild the country’s legal and law enforcement infrastructure. This is Attorney General Gonzales’ third such visit during his tenure as Attorney General.
“I am pleased to see first-hand, in my third visit to Iraq, the progress that the men and women of the Justice Department have made to rebuild Iraq’s legal system and law enforcement infrastructure. They have accomplished an enormous amount of work in the past four years by assisting in the training of tens of thousands of police, security and correctional personnel and prosecutors, supporting thousands of criminal investigations, and leading the Regime Crimes Liaison Office,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “Their sacrifice and commitment to the rule of law and protecting the rights and liberties of Iraqi citizens is truly inspiring.” Attorney General Gonzales was accompanied by Michael J. Sullivan, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), John Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, and other Department of Justice staff.
The Attorney General met with Multi-National Force-Iraq Commanding General David M. Petraeus upon arriving in Iraq. The Attorney General’s agenda while in Iraq included meetings with Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Department of Justice and U.S. military personnel, and various Iraqi government officials including Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud of the Federal Supreme Court, Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Mikha’il and Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bulani. FACT SHEET: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EFFORTS IN IRAQ
During the first weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Department of Justice deployed 26 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.
In March 2007, the Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq announced a reorganization of all U.S. government Rule of Law and Law Enforcement efforts in Iraq and named Assistant U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle as the Rule of Law Coordinator at the Embassy. The Rule of Law and Law Enforcement community has approximately 300 members under Chief of Mission authority, all of whom report to the Deputy Chief of Mission through Mr. Santelle. Mr. Santelle is responsible for coordinating their activities and ensuring unity of effort with the Multi-National Force-Iraq. The Justice Attaché at the Embassy, Judge Eric Levinson, works closely with Mr. Santelle in meeting the goals of the U.S. Mission in Iraq, which necessarily include Justice Department prerogatives. 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.
-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 and administrative support to the Regime Crimes Liaison Office (RCLO) and has been a key part of RCLO task force rotations since July 2004. ATF has provided post-blast investigation and explosives/IED-related training to the Iraqi police, instructing 357 Iraqi police since December 2003. ATF is part of the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cells with the Department of Defense, and is establishing a four-person Attaché Office at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, to be deployed in October 2007.
-USMS personnel have provided protective details, safe houses and secure courthouses for Iraqi judges, and implemented a witness security program for Iraqi trials. The USMS has trained hundreds of security personnel, including 120 Iraqi police assigned to the Iraqi High Tribunal courthouse.
-The DEA has delivered courses in intelligence and intelligence analysis to the Iraqi police.
Regime Crimes Liaison Office
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 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.
-At 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 Criminal Division’s 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.
-The OPDAT Iraq Program currently has six Resident Legal Advisors, including a lead RLA in Baghdad working with the Justice Attaché at the U.S. Embassy. Four RLAs are deployed to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraqi provinces – one in Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit and Baghdad – with a fifth RLA assigned to the Law and Order Task Force in Baghdad. The RLAs work with the 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.
-Over 563 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 and special challenges presented by the prosecution of insurgency and terrorist cases.
-RLAs assisted in establishing a judicial review commission that reviewed the credentials of approximately 869 Iraqi judges. At the end of the process, 135 judges were moved due to Ba’athist Party affiliation and/or evidence of corruption.
-OPDAT facilitated the creation of a Central Criminal Court of Iraq panel for Ninewa Province (Mosul), consisting of judges from Baghdad who travel to Mosul to hear terrorism and major crime cases. The first four panels tried 135 cases involving 165 defendants, 96 of whom were convicted.
-RLAs coordinated and designed curriculum for courses presented to 622 Iraqi police investigators and police trainers relating to Iraqi criminal law and the gathering and preservation of evidence.
Police Training and Assistance
The Criminal Division’s 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 192,000 Iraqi police have been trained in courses developed and/or delivered by ICITAP/CPATT and ICITAP-trained Iraqi instructors.
-More than 22,500 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 kidnaping.
-ICITAP/CPATT provided training to the Iraq 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 Irbil Police College, and 10 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 from ICITAP trained and rendered operational 146 Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and 161 Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigators who have been given responsibility for over 6,190 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 203 Facilities Protection Service (FPS) guards.
-CPI personnel assisted with the referral of more than 2,285 cases to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq for prosecutorial opinion.
-CPI personnel have provided a 22-week polygraph school for 11 Iraqi investigators.
-CPI personnel have trained 99 Personal Security Detail Officers.
Correctional Training and Assistance
The Iraq 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 8,100 corrections officers graduated from ICITAP-established training programs, including the National Corrections Training Academy and various regional pre-service training courses. Training 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. This records review system has become a standard operating procedure and has provide essential in the timely review of detainee cases.
-ICS personnel assisted in the closure of the Abu Ghraib Prison in February 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.
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