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Iraq: U.S. Announces Plans For Court, Review Committee

Baghdad, 17 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The United States' top civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer (pictured), has announced plans for the establishment of an Iraqi central criminal court and a judicial review committee to evaluate the suitability of judges of prosecutors. Bremer said the court would use Iraqi law books from 1969 and 1971, which were in line with international standards. Under these laws, torture is abolished as a means of gaining confessions and an accused person's right to remain silent is guaranteed.

Saying the Iraqi judiciary had been severely discredited during the rule of Saddam Hussein, Bremer said a new judicial review committee would screen judges and prosecutors to determine any links to the Ba'ath Party or involvement in human rights violations or corruption.

"The [judicial review] committee will review every judge and prosecutor in Iraq for his membership in the Ba'ath Party, complicity in human rights violation, or corruption, in order to assure that the Iraqi judicial system is run by people of integrity. If the committee finds any judge or prosecutor to be in violation of these standards, the committee will dismiss him or her from office," Bremer said.

Bremer did not say whether the court could be used to judge Saddam Hussein should the ousted Iraqi leader be captured.