Interview

“Parodies of justice” in Iraq

The Iraqi justice system has some flaws – quick trials, non-existent legal assistance and judgements based on confessions rather than the evidence.

Iraqi authorities provide little data, but the total numbers are increasing. Some studies estimate that 20,000 individuals are imprisoned for alleged ties to the Islamic State (IS). Nine thousand are on death row, already sentenced or awaiting trial, many of whom are foreigners.

Certain European governments, including that of France, have recognised the authority of the Iraqi government, thus exposing their own citizens to capital punishment, in direct contradiction with their legislation. Baghdad’s antiterrorism court has handed down approximately 500 sentences against foreigners since 2018, a situation that is condemned by several organisations.

Agnès Callamard has been the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the United Nations since August 2016. As an independent expert, her task is to inform UN members of direct violations committed by states but also of violations related to their responsibility to protect. Her first official mission took place in Iraq in 2017. We asked her three questions.

"The Iraqi system rests on the confessions of the incriminated person".

"European states do not always fulfil their consular obligations. In theory, they should ensure that their citizens’ fundamental rights are respected".

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