Friday October 21, 2005
The IST is an Iraqi led system,which differs from Western (U.S.) judicial systems. At the request of the IST and the Iraqi Government, the United States provides limited logistical support, as well as some external security support, for the trial. The IST , with their security officers, have responsibility for the interior security of the trial. Additionally, the United States is responsible for detainee security- not only for the trial, but for all aspects of detainee operations under UNSCR 1546.
The individuals on trial in Iraq are under Iraqi jurisdiction; however the United States continues to provide support for the physical custody of the detainees. They are made available to the IST at all times.
Background on the IST Court Structure
- The IST is using the same law, rules, and format as the Iraqi Criminal Courts,with a few exceptions. One exception is five vs three judges. It is an "Iraqi Civil Law" trial, not a jury trial. The five judges will decide the innocence or the guilt of the defendants.
- The trial judges make the decision. There is no timeline for the final decision.
- Each defendant must have an Iraqi lawyer of record, but is able to hire additional lawyers that are not Iraqi.
- The IST was established according to the statute no.(1)dated 10.12.2003, enacted by the Iraqi Governing Counsel. The tribunal recognized the wishes of the Iraqi people to establish a legal instrument suitable for proving their rights and uncovering the truth about what happened during the past years.
- The statute of the IST was drafted by the legal committee of the governing Counsel and followed significant consultation with the legal staff and other experts in the coalition provisional authority and other government officials of countries connected with the coalition. Some of these experts had significant expertise in the field of prosecution of war crimes. The drafters of the statute consulted international experts in the field, as well as some non-governmental organizations. The drafters of the statute consulted Iraqi lawyers and judges who provided advice on Iraqi criminal law.
- The intention of the drafters of the statute was to comply with international standards of due process of law, and to focus on crimes committed under international law (such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity). The drafters of the statute had to take into account the wishes of the Iraqi people.The governing Counsel concluded that, with international assistance, the Iraqi judicial process would be able to pursue an accountability process.
See link to understand more: Procedural steps in the Iraqi legal system
Source: Iraqi Special Tribunal Homepage
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Today, our young men and women must once again heed the Call to Duty. They must finish a fight we didn't start. A war waged on us by radical extremists willing to destroy our very way of life.
(SMA Remarks for 96th Infantry Division)
Kenneth O. Preston
Sergeant Major of the United States Army
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