Ju­di­cial Sys­tem, Hu­man rights courts and the rule of law

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

In Iraq, the coun­try's po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tions since Amer­i­can in­va­sion have un­leashed ex­plo­sive dy­nam­ics that have neg­a­tively af­fected re­li­gious co­ex­is­tence. Eth­nic and re­li­gious iden­tity di­vi­sions have been strained and of­ten ex­ploited in the out­break of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and in the midst of dis­putes over po­lit­i­cal power as Iraq trans­forms to a more demo­cratic sys­tem.

The coun­try’s ju­di­cial sys­tem has de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cantly in the past decade, de­spite the resur­gence of vi­o­lence in the past years. But the courts still need more per­son­nel and train­ing and a greater pub­lic aware­ness of hu­man rights and the rule of law. In­ter- re­li­gious vi­o­lence is a symp­tom of dis­agree­ments over state power. Iraq's vi­o­lent con­flicts are not pri­mar­ily driven by the­o­log­i­cal dis­agree­ments. Vi­o­lence le­git­i­mated on re­li­gious grounds has been deadly within and be­tween re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties.

Iraq is the most cor­rupt govern­ment in the Mid­dle East. U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence in Iraq did not erad­i­cate cor­rup­tion. There were clear signs that post regime Iraq was not go­ing to be the linch­pin for a new demo­cratic Mid­dle East. Ground­ing in his­tor­i­cal po­lit­i­cal tra­jec­to­ries, in­clud­ing the his­toric marginal­iza­tion of the Kurds, Shi­ite, and Chris­tian and other mi­nor­ity re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties from state power, they have been com­pounded in re­cent years, par­tic­u­larly as spe­cific re­li­gious con­flicts.

In Iraq, the sys­tem of hu­man rights courts is in de­vel­op­ment. The judges and the Iraqi pub­lic are still learn­ing about re­lated United Na­tions and na­tional stan­dards and laws. The court sys­tem, still needs more per­son­nel and equip­ment to han­dle its case loads, needs to strengthen lo­cal ca­pac­i­ties to pre­vent, man­age and re­solve con­flicts peace­fully by as­sist­ing Iraqis to de­velop the tools and in­sti­tu­tions nec­es­sary to peace­fully re­solve dis­putes.

Re­li­gious vi­o­lence, in­ter- com­mu­nal pluralism, and pro­cesses of prob­lem solv­ing, sought to elicit con­sen­sus and pro­vide prac­ti­cal sup­port for re­li­gious lead­ers to serve as agents of peace in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. The ca­pac­ity of a core group of civil so­ci­ety ac­tivists is cru­cial to fa­cil­i­tate in­ter- re­li­gious en­gage­ment in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. The Iraqi jus­tice sys­tem has ad­vanced, rather than slip­ping back. The goal is to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the courts of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion and Bagh­dad. Jus­tice has made progress. Ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties are seek­ing to be bet­ter and bet­ter.

The re­li­gious lead­ers and clergy are cru­cial to re­solve in­ter- re­li­gious con­flicts. In Iraq, as in many places around the world, clergy are in­flu­en­tial in shap­ing pub­lic opin­ion and mo­bi­liz­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Here it is of vi­tal im­por­tance to raise ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity of in­di­vid­u­als to be aware of the cul­ture of hu­man rights. The politi­cians should re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of jus­tice and not to in­ter­fere in it, and not to pour their con­flicts into the pot of the ju­di­ciary. They are well po­si­tioned to com­bat de­struc­tive re­li­gious ten­den­cies seek­ing to ex­ploit re­li­gious di­vi­sion. With their un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal needs and dy­nam­ics, they can be pow­er­ful peace builders, par­tic­u­larly when they have the sup­port and ca­pac­ity to play this role.

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