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Cablegate: Iraqi Criminal Evidence Workshop Promotes Use Of

VZCZCXRO1777
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0035/01 0061529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061529Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6024
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000035

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

JUSTICE FOR ODAG, CRM, OPDAT, ICITAP
STATE FOR INL/I, NEA/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KJUS KCRM IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQI CRIMINAL EVIDENCE WORKSHOP PROMOTES USE OF
FORENSIC EVIDENCE

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On December 24, 2009, the Iraqi Higher
Judicial Council (HJC) hosted a successful one-day workshop
on using medical and scientific evidence within Iraqi law to
more effectively investigate crimes while maintaining the
rights and liberties of Iraqi citizens. Prime Minister Nouri
Al Maliki emphasized his support for a strong and independent
judiciary and HJC in his public remarks. Our support to this
workshop sought to help criminal courts rely on forensic
evidence when appropriate, and not only confessions. END
SUMMARY.

Despite Bombings, HJC Forges Ahead
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) On October 25, 2009 a terrorist bombing dislocated
the Higher Judicial Council from its headquarters, and on
December 8 the HJC was again targeted by a car bomb at the Al
Karkh Appeals Court. Less than a month later ) on December
24, 2009 ) the HJC demonstrated its resilience by hosting a
successful one-day workshop on using medical and scientific
evidence within Iraqi law to more effectively investigate
crimes, while maintaining the rights and liberties of Iraqi
citizens.

3. (SBU) Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Deputy Minister of
Interior Ayden Khaled, representatives of the Ministry of
Health (which exploits medical evidence in Iraq), dozens of
senior judges and investigators from the HJC, and civil
society institutions such as the Iraqi Jurists Union
participated in the program. Attending the event as invited
guests were the Charge d,Affaires, MNF-I Commanding General,
Australian Ambassador, and the UK Deputy Ambassador. The
Charge d,Affaires gave opening remarks at the workshop which
underscored the importance of forensic evidence in the
criminal justice system and praised GOI leadership of the
effort

4. (SBU) The workshop is part of a much broader budding
renaissance in the use of medical and scientific evidence in
Iraq. The program is a key first step in a comprehensive
plan to inform judges and judicial investigators about the
utility of forensic evidence in court and showcase the
capabilities of ministries, including Interior and Health, to
assist the judiciary with analysis of scientific and medical
evidence.

PM Expresses Strong Support for Judiciary
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) In remarks delivered at the opening of the program
and carried live on the government-sponsored Baghdad
Al-Iraqiyah television station, Prime Minister Maliki
promised to support justice in whatever it needs, and
expressed hope that all government ministries would provide
support needed by justice, the judges, and the judicial
institutions, including a suitable place, protection, and
support and services. Maliki stressed how important an
independent judiciary is to building a state governed by law.
(COMMENT: Maliki,s remarks were widely covered by print and
television media, and the content of his speech is very clear
in supporting the HJC,s specific needs as an institution.
END COMMENT)

MOI, MOH Officials Provide Technical Expertise
--------------------------------------------- -

6. (SBU) Deputy Minister of Interior Ayden Khaled presented a
lecture on Criminal Evidence, which included overviews of
crime scene investigation, ballistics, fingerprints,
Qcrime scene investigation, ballistics, fingerprints,
documents, and trace evidence. Deputy Minister Ayden also
pointed out during his presentation that part of the problem
with evidence collection in Iraq is that the Iraqi Army often
responds to crime scenes before the Iraqi Police and
contaminates evidence. He also stated clearly that all
investigations in Iraq are under the authority of the HJC,
and when investigators ignore this fact evidence is lost and
conviction is less likely.

7. (SBU) Ministry of Health (MOH) Medical Legal Institute
General Director Dr. Munjed Salah Aldeen followed Deputy
Minister of Interior Ayden,s presentation with a lecture

BAGHDAD 00000035 002 OF 002


specifically discussing forensic, or medical, evidence such
as DNA and autopsy. (NOTE: the MOH Medical Legal Institute
is the only facility in Iraq which currently has the capacity
to analyze DNA. END NOTE) The MOH scientists presented a
polished lecture that explained how forensic science can be
helpful to judges, and placed the work of the Medical Legal
Institute in the context of the history of forensic evidence
in Iraq. The presence of the MOH also helped balance the
perception that MOI stands alone in the field of modern
evidence analysis.

Comment
-------

8. (SBU) The workshop was a success for the HJC and Chief
Justice Medhat Al Mahmoud on several levels. First, the HJC
led the event, though the US, UK, and Australia gave
financial and mentoring support. Second, a better
understanding of forensics will be a tool employed by the
Chief Justice to strengthen the judiciary. Some judges have
shown reluctance to make full use of forensic evidence to
date (even the Iraqi police could make better use of it).
Third, the presence of the Prime Minister, senior
international officials, and members of other ministries at
the event provides legitimacy to the HJC and the issue of an
independent judiciary, which the Chief Justice has promoted
for some time. Chief Justice Medhat,s convincing the Prime
Minister, Deputy Minister of Interior, and senior officials
from MOH, MOHR, and MOLSA to attend the program also boosted
the HJC,s standing within the Iraqi government.
FORD

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