UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
Human Rights Report
1 July – 31 December 2007
Trial procedures and the death penalty:
During the last four months of 2007, UNAMI observed several trials and investigative sessions at the CCCI in al-Karkh and one trial at the CCCI in the al-Rusafa Complex. In one trial on 10 September, three Syrians faced charges of membership of the 1920 Revolution Brigade and possession of illegal weapons.128 During his questioning of the defendants, the presiding judge focused on their confessions before Ministry of Interior investigating officers. The defense plea, lasting some three minutes, included a request for acquittal on grounds of insufficient evidence and a reference to a report which counsel said provided evidence that the defendants had been tortured while held at the al-Jadiriya facility in Baghdad. The trial lasted 50 minutes, including time taken for deliberation, and the defendants were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The summary nature of the proceedings and poor quality of the defense in this case typifies proceedings followed in the majority of cases heard before the criminal courts.
* Details of the torture and ill-treatment that took place at the al-Jadiriyya facility, under Ministry of Interior authority, were documented in previous UNAMI Human Rights Reports.