human rights record and promoting democracy in Iraq
In its bi-annual and annual human rights reports, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has regularly expressed concern that death row prisoners in Iraq have likely been denied a fair trial and were coerced into confessing to death-eligible crimes. Moreover UNAMI expressed concern over governmental corruption and a weak judiciary, stating that the death penalty should be carried out only for “the most serious of crimes.” UNAMI has repeatedly encouraged Iraq to implement a moratorium on executions because of its questionable judicial practices. In its human rights report for the first half of 2012, UNAMI noted that the Kurdistan Region was continuing with an unofficial moratorium (there have been no executions since 2008). UNAMI added that it has been actively advocating with authorities in the Kurdistan Region for an official moratorium, and facilitated a draft law aimed at the abolition of the death penalty. While major political parties expressed support for the law, the draft was met with resistance from some religious leaders and scholars from Islamic and Christian backgrounds. The draft has not been tabled in Parliament.
The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, in its 2009 submission to the Human Rights Council for the UPR process, expressed regret over Iraq’s 2004 reinstatement of the death penalty, procedural inadequacies in convicting persons of capital crimes, and use of torture to coerce confessions. These concerns were reiterated in 2010 in the Human Rights Council’s final observations and recommendations pursuant to the Universal Periodic Review, along with concerns that Iraq applies the death penalty for non-serious crimes.
In cases of passing importance in Iraq but potentially important to international military operations, the European Court of Human Rights considered two petitions from individuals condemned in Iraq. Saddam Hussein petitioned the ECHR, but the ECHR determined that it had no jurisdiction to admit Hussein’s petition for consideration. This ruling on inadmissibility may have in large part turned on the fact that actions in apprehending Hussein were attributable to the United States, without any explanation of the direct involvement of European forces, thus precluding the jurisdiction of the European court. In another seminal case involving the application of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), the ECHR determined that Britain had subjected two Iraqis—who had murdered two British prisoners of war—to inhuman treatment by transferring them to Iraqi custody where they were exposed to the potential imposition of the death penalty. Here, the ECHR found the case admissible because British forces had captured the accused and therefore exercised control over them.
In 2008, the Human Rights Council also indicated serious concerns regarding the independence of judges and attorneys and the legitimacy of capital convictions.
The Commission on Human Rights indicated in 2004 that there was confusion and uncertainty among organizations and courts over which offenses could be punished by death in Iraq and that there were concerns over whether trials were fair. Furthermore, there were conclusive reports of torture and other illegal coercive methods potentially associated with law enforcement.
Freedom in the World 2018 | Freedom House
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Having taken away the right to life of about 30,000 Iraqis in 2003 and 1.7 million by the imposition of sanctions 1991 to 2003, and having caused untold destruction in this period, and having maimed fifty thousand more, and having imprisoned over ten thousand Iraqis who were free under Saddam Hussein, and having used torture on a wide scale to crush opposition and perhaps even for the sadistic pleasure of it, and having increased unemployment from 50% to 70%, and having taken control of Iraq's key national asset plus many of Iraq's most important businesses and services you could say, that in a sense, Iraq is now free.