Diyala governor visits FOB Warhorse to discuss Iraqi law issues
by Pfc. Paul J. Harris
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team,
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
BAQUBAH, Iraq (August 15, 2006) ? The Diyala Province?s Governor, Ra?ad Rashid Mulla Juwad Al-Timimi, joined Anne Patterson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, on Aug. 14 at Forward Operating Base Warhorse to talk about the condition of Diyala?s legal system.
Col. Brian Jones, commander, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, hosted the discussion which focused on how to bolster Iraq?s judicial system and the status of the police force in Diyala Province.
The State Department?s Provincial Reconstruction Team, which works with local governments to foster economic development and infrastructure repair, is working with Iraqis to find resources to improve their courthouses and other infrastructure.
To facilitate law enforcement, Lt. Col. Chris Johnson, deputy team leader, PRT, 3rd HBCT, 4th ID, said Iraqis need training, computers and various other infrastructure improvements. Additional training could provide a marshal force to secure judges who preside over high profile cases such as the prosecution of insurgents. Judges who preside over these cases are routinely targeted by the insurgency in Iraq.
?Ideally we would like the judges in the provinces to try the insurgents, but for now they are being tried in Baghdad,? said Maj. Alyssa Schwenk, brigade judge advocate, 3rd HBCT. ?Provincial judges are trying straight criminal cases.?
?Rule of law is a foundation for democracy, if there is no law or respect for peoples rights you do not have a democracy,? said Johnson. ?People have to feel safe and feel that their government is empowered.?
Schwenk added that it was important for the rule of law to be equally representative in all areas of Iraq and not just in Baghdad.
?Unless we can establish a rule of law that works Iraq will not be able to stabilize,? Schwenk said. ?If they (the Iraqi people) have no faith in the system then it will result in anarchy.?
Under more than 30 years of rule under Saddam Hussein, Iraqis floundered on the global scene because they had limited access to knowledge and advances in technology.
They have plenty of bright and educated people but these people have not been in contact with the latest developments in their professions, commented PRT leader Kiki Munshi.
?We can put up the odd courthouse or jail but what they really need at the police and judge level is more access to knowledge,? she said.
However she was quick to add that the governor, who is pleased with the efforts of coalition forces, does not want a wholesale American judicial system.
?The governor asked Ambassador Patterson to take the message back to Washington ?they need us stay the course in Iraq,?? Munshi said. ?But they also wanted us to work with them, fully recognizing their unique Iraqi culture, its value and their desire to retain that culture.?