Why is justice obstructed in Iraq’s integrity-related cases?

Adnan Hussein

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This is not the first time that an Iraqi political leader or government official has hinted that the judiciary has taken too long to look into cases or neglected them or finalized them via making decisions which do not comply with all the conditions of justice.

On Friday, Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council, called on the judicial institution to look into all the cases submitted to it and take action. He added that the judiciary must specifically look into cases, which obstruct implementation of justice – particularly cases related to terrorism, accountability, justice and administrative and financial corruption.

During a recent visit to the Iraqi Commission of Integrity, it seemed to me that the major complaint was related to the delays in finalizing these cases. Some of these cases are dangerous and significant as well. However, the judiciary has failed to address them despite the availability of conclusive evidence such as documents and confessions.

Obstacle of corruption

Administrative and financial corruption is now the biggest obstacle, which hinders the prospects of stability, peace and rooting out of terrorism. Achieving all this would mean pursuing economic development that can overcome the financial, economic and social crises the society struggles from.

Administrative and financial corruption within the system of the Iraqi state has been one of the major sources of terrorism during the past 10 years.

The judiciary is not seriously and appropriately dealing with the gravity of these cases and this is probably because it is being pressured by prominent political figures and statesmen

Adnan Hussein

The Commission of Integrity’s data stipulates that there are cases linked to prominent officials in the government or to businessmen who have strong ties to influential politicians and officials. The judiciary is not seriously and appropriately dealing with the gravity of these cases and this is probably because it is being pressured by prominent political figures and statesmen.

Some judges claim that the delay is due to the number of cases they have to look into even as others suddenly decide that they are not convinced by the commission’s investigation or the evidence provided by it.

Commission of Integrity

The Commission of Integrity, however, makes strenuous efforts to provide the required information, and it is only an institution that conducts investigations as its role ends once cases are transferred to the judiciary whose only governor is the judge’s conscience.

To resolve this problem, demands have been raised for establishing a department that deals with cases linked to integrity. These demands are not without a reason as they deal with administrative disputes. It is represented in the administrative court that is not affiliated with the judicial authority but with the ministry of justice.

Establishing specialized integrity courts that deal with cases relevant to administrative and financial corruption and that have strong ties to the Commission of Integrity will speed up the process of looking into and finalizing these cases.

This will mean restoring tens of billions of dollars stolen from people which has hindered the country’s economic and social development and the achievement of peace.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein

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