Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – Iraq”s Justice Minister, judge Abdel Hussein Shandal, criticized the current system of appointment and promotion of judges as wrong and contrary to the country”s laws.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat in his office in the Iraqi capital, the minister indicated that the special tribunal set up to try the former president Saddam Hussein was outside the control of the Higher Judicial Council and the ministry as it was established following a special decree by the National Assembly.
He said, “Judges operate outside the jurisdiction of the law which is a major flaw in the organization of the tribunal and the competence of its judges.”
“The National Assembly passed a law to re-organize the statute of the tribunal yet to be implemented as it needs to be published in the official gazette,” the minister added.
Shandal attacked the lack of an adequate system for appointing and promoting judges and called on the special tribunal to follow exiting laws and regulations. “Judges should expect a gradual promotion, in stages, starting after five years of service, after a recommendation from the appeals court.”
In the present system, the minister indicated, “Judges are being assigned to high-level positions before the necessary time of service, currently set at 15 years, being completed.” This, he warned, “is illegal”.
Saddam has been in American custody at an undisclosed site in Baghdad since his capture in December 2003, eight months after his regime was overthrown by U.S. forces.
The former dictator is expected to face about a dozen trials for alleged crimes committed by his regime, including the gassing of Kurds in Halabja and the 1991 suppression of a Shiite uprising in the south.