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Cablegate: Csi Iraq: Forensic Science Regaining Foothold

VZCZCXRO7948
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0059/01 0100845
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100845Z JAN 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6060
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000059

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS PHUM IZ KCRM
SUBJECT: CSI IRAQ: FORENSIC SCIENCE REGAINING FOOTHOLD

REF: A. 10 BAGHDAD 35
B. 09 BAGHDAD 3058

BAGHDAD 00000059 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Forty years ago Iraq was a leading center
in the Middle East for scientific and medical evidence and
the rule of law. Many senior Iraqi Police Officers involved
in the forensics program have worked in the forensic field
for over 20 years, and the GOI is, with US, UK, and
Australian Governments, assistance, resurrecting its
forensic capabilities nationwide. In addition to three
operational Criminal Evidence Laboratories in Baghdad, Basra
and Erbil, several criminal cases investigated during 2009
indicate that Iraq has the ability to analyze forensic
evidence and use it in court to prove guilt or innocence. END
SUMMARY.

Laboratories Established
------------------------

2. (SBU) In a coordinated effort, the USG, HMG, and
Australian Government have helped the GOI establish three
main operational criminal evidence laboratories in Baghdad,
Erbil, and Basrah and two smaller forensics facilities in
Hillah and Mosul since 2006. The main facilities have the
capability to examine items for comparative analysis such as
fingerprints, ballistics and documents. These facilities
also have equipment and trained personnel to produce
analytical evidence such as chemical and biological analysis.
Current responsibility for medical evidence lies with the
Ministry of Health (MOH), which conducts DNA and other
medical analysis at the MOH Medical Legal Institute in
Baghdad.

3. (SBU) A fully equipped and functioning training laboratory
at the Baghdad Police College campus located in the Rusafa
district of Baghdad supports the Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil
facilities. The Baghdad Police College training laboratory
conducts skills development programs for investigators. The
GOI plans to construct three additional criminal evidence
laboratories with the ultimate aim of standing up
laboratories in each province. In addition, a plan to build
a specialist laboratory for the examination of explosives is
being developed by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) with the
assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Military.

Criminal Cases Involving Forensics Make Headlines
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (SBU) In 2009, there were several noteworthy criminal
cases in Iraq that utilized various types of forensic
evidence. In February, Iraqi Police in Basra operating a
checkpoint at Al Jwaber stopped and searched a vehicle.
During the search police found a 100 ml bottle containing a
white coloured chemical substance. Suspecting that this
substance may have been some form of explosive the owner of
the car was arrested and detained and the bottle was seized
as evidence. Iraqi Police later completed a written
laboratory submission requesting the analysis of this bottled
substance and conveyed the sample to the Criminal Evidence
Laboratory in Basra. Lab analysis of the sample determined
it to be a polymer resin used in the building trade and not
an explosive compound. The Investigative Judge handling the
case, on reading the findings of the lab, ordered the release
of the man detained at Al Thasar. (COMMENT: This appears to
be one of the first cases in Basra of use of forensics to
prove the innocence of a detained person. It is evidence of
the readiness of the judiciary to accept and act upon the
Qthe readiness of the judiciary to accept and act upon the
finding of the lab and represents a significant positive step
forward for the Iraqi Police and the Basra lab. END COMMENT)

5. (SBU) In September, Iraqi police attended a shooting case
in Basra originally labelled a suicide after interviews with
the female victim,s family. A scene examination by forensic
personnel revealed that the body had been moved. Marks on the
body suggested the victim may also have been restrained. The
family was re-questioned and subsequently revealed that the
victim was involved with a man not liked by the family so it
was believed she had been killed. Ballistic examination of
the cartridge found at the scene by trained examiners showed
the bullet was fired from the gun belonging to the victim,s
brother, a serving policeman. After forensic evidence from
the case was presented to a judge, an arrest warrant was

BAGHDAD 00000059 002.2 OF 002


issued and the suspect is currently in Iraqi custody awaiting
a court appearance.

6. (SBU) In a criminal case decided in October in Salah ad
Din province, ballistics analysis conducted at the Baghdad
Criminal Evidence Laboratory was used to convict a man for
killing his mother after he claimed Coalition Forces had been
involved (REF B). Iraqi investigators used the evidence
analyzed at the lab to confront the family of the accused,
who admitted to the man,s role in killing his mother.

The Future
---------

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The GOI,s advances are indicative of a
desire on the part of Iraqi police and judges to regain the
standing that the country once enjoyed in the field of
forensic science. It is important to note that forensic
evidence plays a key role in successfully separating the
innocent from the guilty. Sustained commitment to use of
forensic evidence at trial will be assessed in the coming
year as joint US, UK, and Australian training efforts are
coordinated with the Higher Judicial Council (HJC), MOI and
MOH. END COMMENT.
HILL

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