Wednesday, April 02, 2008

CSI: Baghdad

The Major Crimes Task Force was set up about two years ago in Iraq with the help of the FBI. The Joint Investigative Force, as tranlated from Arabic, is a revolutionary development in a country in which investigations ended when suspects were arrested and evidence was irrelevant. Even before the Saddam years, everyone confessed eventually.

The Major Crimes Task Force is Iraq's first professional investigative agency. It takes on the politically explosive cases no one else will touch — and what some members of the task force have learned has put their lives in jeopardy.


A bag of evidence is so commonplace in America that the idea of gathering it, preserving it and building a case around it hardly gets a second thought.

But here in Iraq, the concept represents a revolution. During the years under Saddam Hussein's rule, evidence was beside the point.

"Before, the accused used to tell us what we wanted to hear because we beat them up or tortured them," ...

"Now, we collect evidence, bring the individuals in for interrogation and then send them to court. This is one of the great changes that has happened here in Iraq."


Until now, the rule of law was aspirational, something Iraqi leaders thought about in theory — something that they could be concerned about in the future. But now, with an investigative force conducting real investigations, the landscape has changed and a moment of truth may have arrived.
Unfortunately, the Joint Investigative Force may be the only part of the Iraqi legal system that is even close to working. Abuses are still rife in the judicial system as is corruption and politicians use the judiciary to protect criminals. Read and hear more of this three part story at NPR.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Gayle said...

They are making progress, Indigo, and that is at least a step in the right direction. As for abuses in the judicial system, we still have abuses in our judicial system, though according to the article you linked to, not the same sort that you are referring to in this post. From your link:

"There are components of the government that would like to control the cases we prosecute and the ones we don't. There are instances in which they have tried to retaliate because we have taken on an investigation."

They've got a long way to go for sure, but each baby step in the right direction is huge progress, considering how far behind they were!

Indigo Red said...

You're absolutely correct, Gayle. The baby steps are easy to miss, but are most often the important steps. Awhile back, I wrote about the womens basketball league that started in Sulaimaniya, a huge baby step, but largely ignorred.

And, yeah, we have those interference and abusive activities here. We have whistleblower laws. That doesn't always help if folks aren't brave enough to step forward. Iraq is finding folks who will and that's the good part.

dcat said...

Yeah nothing but lots of nasty’s on line too.

Sheesh So sensitive they physically threaten you!

Then they say they hope that it never works. I say so be it then.

dcat said...

I meant that in a way of then you will fall behind back into the pile of crap in that cave ya came from! Iraqi people will work to take those that want violence out!