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Cablegate: Transmittal of Letter From Pm Nouri Al-Maliki To

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #3887/01 3331428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291428Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RHEHWSR/WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4571

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003887

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL IZ
SUBJECT: TRANSMITTAL OF LETTER FROM PM NOURI AL-MALIKI TO
POTUS

1. (U) Post received a letter addressed to POTUS from Iraqi
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (PM) addressed on November 28,
2007. Scanned copies of the original document and the
translation to English have been emailed to the NSC and
NEA/I. The following is Post's translation of the Arabic
text into English:

2. (U) Begin text:

Republic of Iraq
Nouri K. al-Maliki
Prime Minister

His Excellency George W. Bush
President of the United States of America

Washington


Your Excellency,

Article 134 of the Constitution of the Republic of Iraq
stipulates that, "The Iraq High Criminal Court shall continue
its duties, as an independent judicial body, to try the
crimes of the defunct dictatorial regime and its symbols..."
This Constitutional provision means that the Court is
independent of all authorities including the judicial
authority and that no entity can influence, or exercise
pressure on it. Article (72/Second) of the law of the Court
also stipulates that, "...no entity of whatsoever, including
the President of the Republic (the Presidency Council) can
pardon or reduce the sentence issued by this Court." It
should be mentioned here that, the law of the Court is still
valid based on the provisions of Articles (130 and 134) of
the Constitution.

The Iraqi High Criminal Court has ruled that the convicts Ali
Hassan al-Majid (also known as Chemical Ali), Sultan Hashim
and Hussein Rashid Al-Tikriti be executed. The sentences
were approved by the Court of Cassation and became final.
Whereas, Article (27/second) of the law of the court
stipulates that the punishment must be carried out within 30
days from the date the sentence becomes final, the Government
has requested that the MNF-I hand over the convicted
individuals to the competent governmental authorities to
carry out the sentence in accordance with the law.
Surprisingly, the MNF-I refused to hand over the convicts
despite the fact that they are legally in the custody of the
Iraqi Government and the MNF-I is responsible only for their
physical custody. The refusal to hand over the convicted
individuals to the Iraqi Government delayed carrying out the
sentences beyond the period stipulated by the law of the
Court and caused failure of the Iraqi Government to carry out
its legal and constitutional obligations.

The refusal of the MNF-I to hand over the convicts to the
governmental authorities to carry out the final sentences is
a violation of Iraqi law and is an intervention by the MNF-I
in the affairs of the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi
judiciary. The reasons provided by the MNF-I in justification
of their refusal to hand over the convicts are unacceptable.
The request by some members of the Presidency Council not to
hand over the convicts before the approval of the sentences
by the Council is a request that lacks legal basis, because
the approval in this case becomes a mere formal procedure and
has no objective impact on the verdicts in light of the
provisions of Article (27/second) of the above mentioned law
of the Court, in addition to Article (73) of the
Constitution, which stipulates that special pardon cannot be
granted for individuals convicted of international crimes,
which are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,
noting that these individuals were convicted on charges of
international crimes.

Based on the above, it is clear that the Council's approval
is no longer needed and that any attempt to grant pardon, or
to reduce the sentences, issued against the above mentioned
convicts requires a constitutional amendment. The Supreme
Federal Court clearly stated that the provisions of the Iraqi
High Criminal Court must be observed. In other words, the
sentence must be carried out within 30 days from the date the
sentence becomes final and not to permit any entity,
including the President of the Republic to pardon or reduce
punishments issued by the Court, which contradicts the
earlier announcements by some members of the Presidency
Council of their intention to pardon or to reduce the
sentences against the convicts mentioned above or some of
them.

Your Excellency,

The convicts mentioned above have committed heinous crimes
against the Iraqi people who were delighted because of the
Court's just decisions to sentence them to capital
punishment. Regrettably, the decision by the MNF-I to refuse
handing over the convicts had a painful impact on the people.
Also, this behavior has inflicted the greatest damage on the
credibility of the Government, rule of the law and judicial
judgments in Iraq. Consequently, we hope that your
Excellency would intervene by ordering the MNF-I to respect
Iraq's sovereignty and not to interfere in the affairs of the
Iraqi Government and to hand over the convicts to the
Government which we represent as soon as possible based on
the provisions of Article (78) of the Constitution.

I avail myself of the opportunity to express my utmost
respect and best wishes for your success and prosperity for
our two peoples.

Signed,

Nouri Al-Maliki
Prime Minister
November 27, 2007

END TEXT
BUTENIS

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