By Spc. Jonathan W. Thomas, 16th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentMay 28, 2010
FORT IRWIN, California - The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Staff Judge Advocate team visited a replica Iraqi courthouse to learn how the Iraqi justice system operates, during a simulated trial at the National Training Center May 25.
The 3rd ACR legal team observed two mock trials in order to gain understanding for how the Iraqi people administer the laws that keep their country free from the ways of the former regime.
"I need the witnesses to be here when I do my court, I need the pictures and the fingerprints, I need all of this evidence," said Akil Farouk, who played the role of the judge for the NTC's Central Criminal Court of Iraq. "I don't follow my heart. I know maybe [the suspect] is a criminal, but I have to follow the Iraqi law."
The Iraqi court system, which is similar to a European style court, requires a specific set of information, and without those items the judge will not convict an individual.
The Brave Rifles legal team will advise and assist judicial officials in their area of operations when they deploy to Iraq in late summer.
"Our mission in Iraq is to work with our Iraqi counterparts in order to build a capacity in their civil system so that the Iraqi people will have more faith and confidence in the Iraqi court system," said Maj. Jay Stephenson, 3rd ACR's staff judge advocate.
"It's very important to see what kind of evidence is useful and what evidence gets thrown out of this court, so we can enhance our process," said Capt. Daniel Sperling, 3rd ACR's trial counsel.
"We have gone under extensive training to learn the differences so we better understand our clients, in this case the Iraqi court system, so we can understand the point of view their coming from," said Stephenson.
Farouk said the justice system in Iraq is no longer the law of the old regime. The court is fair, a place where people are judged in open, not in a mock trial behind closed doors.
"The only way that the government of Iraq stands by itself is if the rule of law is successful ... if the Iraqi people have confidence in the Iraqi court system," said Sperling.