Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – The head of the Iraqi Justice and Accountability Commission, Ahmad Chalabi, said that a UN representative requested that the reasons for disqualifying hundreds of candidates from the Iraqi parliamentary elections remain unpublished until after the elections.
Chalabi also revealed that two new lists have been issued by the Commission containing the names of officers from the Ministries of Defense and Interior.
Asked about the legal reasons for eliminating hundreds of candidates, Chalabi stated that “the UN Envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, strongly requested that we do not publish these reasons before the elections.” Chalabi added, “During a meeting with Melkert, I said that as a result of being accused of working covertly, the Commission has decided to publish the reasons for disqualifying [certain] people from the elections.” Melkert, however, said: “I strongly request that you do not publish those reasons before the elections,” according to AFP. The UN mission in Iraq was not available to comment.
The Justice and Accountability Commission, which was established in 2008, eliminated over 500 candidates on grounds of having ties to the dissolved and constitutionally banned Baath Party. This list included prominent figures such as MPs Saleh al Mutlaq and Zafer al Ani.
“We decided to take the UN’s advice and abstain from defaming those who have been disqualified in order not to harm their lists. Publishing will be postponed until the elections are over out of respect for the advice given by the UN,” said Chalabi.
In light of existing political divisions, the Justice and Accountability Commission’s decision has created controversy across Iraq, as these elections, according to many officials, will be decisive to the future of Iraq.
Chalabi also stated that “the Commission will continue with its work. A few days ago, it announced the elimination of a number of army and police officers to whom the rules of the Justice and Accountability Commission also apply.”
Executive director of the Justice and Accountability Commission, Ali al Lami, announced the “elimination of around 450 high-ranking officials who had been working for the security force on grounds of being linked to the Baath Party after thorough investigations by the concerned ministries.”
However, Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al Dabbagh, confirmed last Saturday that “the serving officers and civilians were employed entirely legally, in respect of the law.”
Al Dabbagh added that according to the rules of the Justice and Accountability Commission, the law authorises ministers to request exemptions for those deemed to be competent and loyal to the new Iraq so that they can continue in their jobs. Commenting on that, Chalabi asserted that [even] the Prime Minister [Nouri al Maliki] has no right to do that and that the law does not allow that.
Chalabi also referred to two new lists containing the names of 497 officers from the Ministries of Defense and Interior that had been issued a few days ago.