Cablegate: Fourth Annual Rule of Law Conference

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1. (U) SUMMARY: The Rule of Law Coordinator Office, in
conjunction with Multi-National Force- Iraq (MNF-I) Office of
the Staff Judge Advocate(OSJA) and the Office of Provincial
Affairs, hosted the Fourth Annual Rule of Law Conference in
the International Zone on May 19-21. Over 160 Embassy,
MNF-I, and non-USG personnel participated in the three-day
conference . The first day of the conference focused on
Iraq Rule of Law issues and programs from the Embassy
perspective, the second day from the MNF-I perspective, and
the final day from the Iraqi and international perspective.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker hosted a VIP luncheon at the
Embassy on the final day. END SUMMARY

2. (U) From May 19-21, the Rule of Law Coordinator's
Office held the Fourth Annual Rule of Law Conference at the
Forward Operating Base Blackhawk Conference Center in the
International Zone. The conference was jointly organized
by and coordinated with MNF-I OSJA and the Office of
Provincial Affairs.

3. (U) DAY 1 - Review of Embassy Rule of Law Programs:
Ambassador Ryan Crocker opened the conference with
welcoming remarks and spoke about the importance of
developing the Rule of Law in Iraq, as well as Embassy,
MNF-I, and non-USG Coalition partners working together to
help accomplish that mission.

4. (U) Rule of Law Coordinator Phil Lynch and outgoing
MNF-I SJA Mark Martins discussed their offices, joint
efforts to promote the rule of law in Iraq. They were
followed by a panel of Rule of Law personnel from different
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) discussing various
initiatives, issues, and challenges Rule of Law PRT
personnel face. The Deputy Rule of Law Coordinator and
MNF-I SJA Rule of Law Chief subsequently presented on the
Iraqi amnesty regime, including how the law is functioning
and the extent of its impact since enactment.

5. (U) The afternoon session began with a panel focusing
on legal programs for Iraqi women. The subsequent panel
discussed judicial capacity building programs and support
for Iraqi bar associations, law schools, and other legal
organizations. Representatives of the Rule of Law
Coordinator, MNF-I SJA, Joint Strategic Planning and
Assessment, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and
Law Enforcement then engaged the audience with an
interactive dialogue about the Rule of Law Strategic Action
Plan (ROLSAP), due to be completed this summer. The day,s
final presentations addressed (1) funding and resources
available for Rule of Law programs and (2) Iraq,s civil law
system and land registry issues.

6. (U) DAY 2 - Review of MNFI Rule of Law Programs: The
second day of the conference focused more directly on
military issues, with the content and discussion driven by
MNF-I OSJA. Outgoing MNF-I SJA COL Mark Martins and
Australian Brigadier Jeffrey Sengelman, MNF-I Director of
Strategic Operations, opened the day with a discussion of
the Rule of Law Mission in Iraq. Bill Gallo, Director of
the Law and Order Task Force (LAOTF), provided an inside
look at the mission and functioning of LAOTF. Rear Admiral
Garland Wright, Deputy Commanding General of Task Force
134, concluded the morning session with a look at detainee
operations and Theater Internment Facility and
Reconciliation Centers (TIFRCs).

7. (U) Brigadier General Edward Cardon, MND-C Deputy
Commanding General for Support, began the afternoon session
of Day 2 by addressing General Officer-level assistance and
engagements in support of Rule of Law operations. COL
Gerald Busby followed with a look at Rule of Law Complex
projects. An MNC-I SJA representative then led a panel,
composed of members from 64th MP Co, 18th MP BDE, MND-B
CID, MND-N, CCC-I, and Task Force Ramadi, which provided an
analysis of the Iraqi criminal justice system from arrest
to trial. Rule of Law representatives from MNF-W, MND-C,
MND-N, and the Basrah PRT subsequently engaged attendees in
a discussion on MNC-I initiatives in support of the Iraqi
justice system. General Cardon closed out Day 2 by hosting
a social function at the Embassy that included a
presentation by guest speaker General Al-Ali H. Fawzi,
former Chief of Staff, Iraqi Army 3rd Corps, about cultural
knowledge useful for effectively engaging Iraqi judges.

8. (U) DAY 3 - International Perspectives on Rule of Law
Programs: The final day provided conference attendees with
an international perspective on Iraq rule of law issues.
Representatives of the UN Development Programme, EUJUST
LEX, and the International Institute for the Rule of Law
began the day with a presentation on international
organizations and the Rule of Law program. A panel

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composed of the Iraqi Bar Association (IBA) President, the
Dean of the Baghdad Law School, and the Director General of
the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) addressed the
conference on modernizing Iraqi legal education, with a
focus on training, curriculum development, and law school
partnerships. Representatives of the British, Italian, and
Japanese Embassies, and a human rights officer from UNAMI,
rounded out the morning session with a discussion of
bi-lateral engagement in the Rule of Law community.

9. (U) Ambassador Crocker then hosted a luncheon for
conference speakers at the Embassy. Distinguished Iraqi
guests, including Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud, IBA
President Aswad al-Ninshidi, Baghdad Law School Dean Ali
al-Rufaie, and several Iraqi judges, participated in the
luncheon, as did USG leaders such as Director of the Office
of Provincial Affairs Phyllis Powers, Rule of Law
Coordinator Phil Lynch, DoIA Director General MG Michael
Jones, Rear Admiral Garland Wright, and others.

10. (U) After the luncheon, Chief Justice (CJ) Medhat,
President of the Higher Judicial Council (HJC), started off
the final afternoon of the conference with a keynote
address which began with a history of law in the Iraq
region from Babylonian times until today. As part of that
discussion, he emphasized the importance of reestablishing
and strengthening judicial independence from the other
branches of government as well as outside influences. That
independence, he lamented, had been significantly
challenged between 1977 and 2003, when the former regime
had the judiciary under the control of the executive

11. (U) CJ Medhat then highlighted some of the HJC,s
successes over the past five years, including a doubling of
the number of judges and prosecutors; supporting the
building of courthouses as well as housing for judges;
increasing judicial training; and introducing &new blood to
the administrative staff and the other judicial departments
with young graduates from the colleges and institutes.8
He concluded by focusing on future plans for the HJC, as
resources allow, including: the establishment of courts
specializing in particular types of cases, such as
terrorism, cyber crimes, money laundering, commerce, and
administrative cases; improving and modernizing juvenile
and family courts; establishing investigative offices
focused on major crimes in the provinces; and more closely
linking the JTI with the HJC so the HJC can improve the JTI,s
programs and staff. He then responded to questions from

12. (U) CJ Medhat,s talk was followed by an all-Iraqi
panel composed of the Chief Juvenile Judge at CCC-I, Karkh,
the Deputy Director General for Juvenile Rehabilitation at
the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the President of
the Iraqi Jurists Union, and the Karkh Juvenile Police
Chief addressing legal issues about juveniles in Iraq.

13. (U) COMMENT: The Fourth Annual Rule of Law
Conference provided an excellent opportunity for Embassy,
MNF-I, and non-USG coalition partners to come together and
share insights and experiences from around Iraq regarding
various challenges faced in advancing the rule of law.
Conference attendees participated with engaging questions
and commentary throughout the entire three-day event. In
addition to making resource connections that will prove
valuable in the coming months, participants came away from
the conference with new ideas for solutions to issues they
face and a renewed confidence in the way forward on the
rule of law mission.

© Scoop Media

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