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Cablegate: Summary of Goi Meetings On Rule of Law, Detentions

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #0724/01 0711409
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111409Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6173
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC// PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000724

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/I, INL/I
NSC FOR ROBERT KITRINOS
JUSTICE FOR EULER, MONHEIM, MACATAMEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KJUS MOPS IZ
SUBJECT: SUMMARY OF GOI MEETINGS ON RULE OF LAW, DETENTIONS

1. This is an update on the continuing Ministerial Committee
on the Rule of Law and Detention meetings (MCROLD). Since
our last summary the MCROLD has been marked by more senior
participants - most ministries or agencies are now
represented at the deputy minister level - and more organized
meetings. Agenda topics discussed included administrative
issues, medical needs of adult detainees, execution of
release orders, and housing and medical care for juvenile
detainees. A summary of the February 12 and 27, 2008 MCROLD
meetings is presented below.

------------------------------
February 12 Meeting Highlights
------------------------------

2. Ongoing issues included problems with transferring
juvenile detainees for psychiatric evaluation. Discussion
centered around the difficulties of identifying juvenile
detainees for evaluation, locating those same detainees
within the detention facilities, and enforcing orders to
transfer and evaluate those detainees.

3. MCROLD participants raised concerns about detainees,
transferred from Coalition facilities, who have been found
innocent in the Iraqi courts. The Committee chairman claimed
that Coalition forces sent letters to Iraqi authorities
instructing them to not release those detainees because they
present a security threat. MNFI's representative explained
that their goal is to turn over detainees who have been
convicted to the Ministry of Justice for confinement in Iraqi
facilities. He further explained that more than 600 people
convicted in Iraqi courts are being held in Coalition
facilities at Camps Cropper and Bucca due to a shortage of
GoI prison bed space.

4. Progress was reported on the issue of timely release of
detainees following orders from the relevant courts. The
committee reported that in December, large numbers of
detainees were released. There are complaints on the
hand-over process of released detainees, with some detainees,
particularly females, being released with no coordination
with family members.

5. A contagious skin condition has affected many detainees,
particularly at the Kahdimya women's facility. Poor
conditions at the detention facility, including humidity and
rodents, were cited as the cause. A new building is being
constructed and they are attempting to keep the facility
clean. Detainees are now being taken out for sun two hours
every day. Representatives from the prosecutor's office from
the Baghdad juvenile court visited female detainees held in
Al Karada and found that they have no medical staff at all.
A letter was sent to the Baghdad directorate to send medical
staff to that facility and they are waiting for action by the
Minister of Health. USG representatives were given a list of
medications requested by various ministries. Hazard payment
for doctors was discussed. There is correspondence about the
issue that will be submitted to the Chairman.

6. Specific detention cases were discussed, including a
female juvenile detained more than one year whose case is
still at the Ministry of Justice. According to the GOI
representative, she is mentally unstable and should be
referred as soon as possible. Another detainee cannot be
moved from Baghdad to Anbar because there is no line for
movement. The detainee confessed to killing a policeman but
the Anbar police station has not replied to the request for
the case file.

7. A judicial committee has been formed to inspect the Rusafa
detention facility the first week in March. The chairman
reminded committee members that photography of females and
female detention facilities was prohibited and that only
members of the human rights committees are permitted to visit
those facilities, subject to approval from the Minister of
Justice.

------------------------------
February 27 Meeting Highlights
------------------------------

8. The Amnesty Law was the primary topic of discussion. The
committee chair announced that the Amnesty Law was signed and
is now in effect. He explained the amnesty process, which
involves each detainee's application being sent for review
and decision to one of approximately 22 committees formed
throughout Iraq. If amnesty is denied, the detainee has the
right of appeal, and the committee decision will not be
implemented until the appeal is final. The Higher Judicial
Council sent a letter to the Ministries of Interior, Justice,
and Labor and Social Affairs regarding the mechanics of
release covered in the law. The chairman repeatedly
emphasized that the law is to be applied evenly. There is to
be no interference -- political, sectarian or otherwise -- in
applying the law. They are only to look at the investigation
and deal with whether or not a detainee is covered by the law

9. Officials from the Ministry of Justice met two days ago
with a representative from the Deputy Prime Minister's
Office, representatives of the larger political parties in
Iraq, and representatives of the Arab league in Iraq
concerning national reconciliation and the Amnesty law. All
present at that meeting were reportedly very pleased with the
information received at the meeting, especially the news that
a large number of detainees had been released.

10. The chairman noted that the MCROLD Committee will
continue to work toward achieving the goal of releasing the
largest number of detainees possible according to the law.
To date, 14,847 detainees have been released and 6,056
referred to trial, according to the committee chairman. Of
the referred cases, 90% have been closed.

11. The judge from the Central Criminal Court of Iraq's
juvenile court advised that six wards have been prepared at
Tobchi to receive juveniles transferred from MNFI custody.
The wards do not yet have beds, MNFI will be notified as soon
as the wards are ready and court orders are issued for the
juveniles' -- up to 80 detainees -- transfer from Camp
Cropper for further processing.

12. GOI participants included representatives from the Chief
Prosecutor's office, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice,
Ministry of Defense, National Security Council; Ministry of
Interior, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs; Deputy Prime
Minister's office, Al Tobchi Detention Center, Khadimiya
Women's Detention Center, and the Ministry of Human Rights.
USG observers included representatives from Embassy's Rule of
Law office and MNFI's Staff Judge Advocate's office.
CROCKER

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