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Australian assistance to Iraqi justice system.



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THE HON ALEXANDER DOWNER MP, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

2 August 2007

AUSTRALIAN ASSISTANCE TO IRAQI JUSTICE SYSTEM

The Australian Government will contribute a six member team to support the Law and Order Task Force initiative in Baghdad.

The Australian contribution will be part of a group of lawyers, investigators and court officers which will train and mentor local counterparts so that the court system can fairly and expeditiously try detainees accused of major crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping and terrorist offences under Iraqi law.

The Law and Order Task Force has been established to create a safe and well resourced environment in which detainees charged with major crimes can be accommodated and their cases investigated and brought before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Strengthening the capacity of the Iraqi law and order sector is an essential component in building a stable and democratic Iraq, able to govern and protect itself.

The Task Force began operating in May and cases have already begun to be heard and investigated. The Task Force focuses on crimes committed after March 2003, with the Iraqi High Tribunal continuing to be responsible for trying serious crimes alleged to have been committed during the Saddam era.

Three lawyers from the Australian Defence Force will be in the initial team. A second group of three team members with appropriate investigatory experience is being recruited.

Media Contact: Malcolm Cole (Foreign Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500 Nigel Blunden (Defence Minister’s office) 02 6277 7800