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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


(202) 514-2008

TDD: (202) 514-1888

Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Efforts in Iraq

Since 2003, the Department of Justice has worked in close partnership with the Government of Iraq (GoI), Multi National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) and the Department of State supporting efforts to help the people of Iraq achieve a free and democratic state. The Justice Department’s initial function was to assist and advise in the reconstitution of the judicial and law enforcement systems throughout the republic. Over time, these efforts have expanded, such that now more than 200 employee and contract personnel are working in partnership with Iraqis throughout the nation to promote freedom and security in a variety of areas, including advice and training that will help to re-establish essential law enforcement and security functions.

In March 2007, the State Department reorganized all civilian and law enforcement efforts to support the rule of law in Iraq under a single authority, and named a senior Justice Department official as the Rule of Law (ROL) Coordinator at the Embassy. The ROL Coordinator oversees the work of more than 300 personnel under Chief of Mission authority, coordinates these activities with the MNF-I to ensure a unified effort, and serves as an advisor to the Ambassador on justice-related issues. Justice Department components have and continue to support the Iraqi justice system in the following ways:

DOJ Law Enforcement Components

The Department of Justice’s law enforcement components provide special investigative training and assistance to Iraqi law enforcement, including the following:

  • The Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF), a unique joint Iraqi-U.S. organization, formed in 2006 in response to a rash of high-profile murders, assassinations and acts of sectarian violence, provides on-the-job training, support and mentoring to Iraqi law enforcement and task force members. Law enforcement agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), work in close partnership with their highly trained Iraqi counterparts to conduct investigations of serious and often highly sensitive criminal acts. This includes participation in crime scene investigations, analysis of physical evidence, witness and suspect interviews, and other related activities.
  • The FBI’s Legal Attaché (Legat) in Iraq is a senior level Special Agent who serves as the law enforcement liaison to the Embassy, the MNF-I and the international community. The Legat office provides guidance and assistance on a variety of law enforcement issues, including criminal investigations, hostage rescue, counter-intelligence and training, biometrics, and public corruption, as well as serving a supervisory role over the MCTF. The FBI also has a counterterrorism unit in Iraq that deploys rotating teams of specialists to provide training to the Iraqi police.
    • ATF is currently standing up an Attaché Office in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, whose mission will be three-fold: to create the Iraq Weapons Investigation Cell to investigate and account for U.S. government-issued munitions; establish the ATF Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell which will seek to identify the source countries for explosives recovered in Iraq; and to engage in a targeted effort to investigate diversion, contraband, and cigarette theft throughout the country. In addition to the new duties of the Attaché Office, ATF has provided post-blast investigation and explosives/IED-related training to the Iraqi police, instructing 357 Iraqi police since December 2003.
    • The USMS has provided safe housing for Iraqi judges, security for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial, safe houses and secure courthouses, and implemented a witness security program for Iraqi trials. U.S. Deputy Marshals have conducted numerous courthouse security assessments, advising Iraqis on procedures and technologies that will improve the safety of civil and criminal courts throughout Iraq. The USMS has also trained hundreds of security personnel, including 120 Iraqi police assigned to the Iraqi High Tribunal courthouse.
  • In addition to participating in the MCTF, the DEA has delivered courses in intelligence and intelligence analysis to the Iraqi police.

Office of the Justice Attache

The Justice Attaché is a senior DOJ official who serves as the primary liaison to the members of the Iraqi judiciary. The Justice Attaché is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the MNF-I, the State Department, the Justice Department and the international community with the Iraqi judiciary and other relevant GoI ministries that engage in rule of law efforts in Iraq.

Law and Order Task Force

In February 2007, the Justice Department and MNF-I formed the Law and Order Task Force, which is head-quartered in a secure compound located in Baghdad, just outside of the International Zone. The goal of the task force is to build essential Iraqi capacity for independent, evidence-based, transparent, and evenhanded investigation and trial of major crimes before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. The task force, which consists of CF civilian and military attorneys, paralegals, and criminal investigators who train, mentor and assist Iraqi police and judges to reform, strengthen and expand the rule of law. The LAOTF compound also provides secure housing for judges and a secure courthouse allowing members of the Iraqi judiciary to adjudicate cases in a safe environment.

Prosecutorial Training and Assistance

The primary focus of the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is to assist the Iraqi justice sector in enhancing sustainable institutions built on rule of law principles. Its many accomplishments and activities to date include:

  • The OPDAT Iraq Program currently has seven Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs), working in support of the rule of law mission. Six RLAs are deployed to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraqi provinces, with the seventh RLA assigned to the Law and Order Task Force in Baghdad. The RLAs work with the Embassy, the Iraqi Higher Juridical Council, the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, provincial courts, and other justice sector institutions on a variety of issues related to criminal justice, rule of law, and other matters involving the delivery of justice to the citizens of Iraq.
    • OPDAT personnel have facilitated the creation of Central Criminal Court panels for Mosul, Tikrit, and Kirkuk. These panels, referred to as Major Crimes Courts, consist of both local and sometimes traveling judges from Baghdad who handle major felony cases that the traditional provincial courts have been unable to prosecute for security reasons. These Major Crimes Courts have been cited repeatedly by Iraqi provincial leaders as making a positive impact on public perception of the criminal justice system.
  • More than 600 Iraqi judicial officials have been trained in courses developed and/or delivered by RLAs in Iraq, including topics such as human rights, scientific evidence and special challenges presented by the prosecution of insurgency and terrorist cases. RLAs have coordinated and designed curriculum for courses presented to 622 Iraqi police investigators and police trainers relating to Iraqi criminal law and the gathering and preservation of evidence.

Police Training and Assistance

The Criminal Division’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program’s (ICITAP) efforts in Iraq, in coordination with its Coalition partners, constitute the largest international police training program ever undertaken. As a component of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT), ICITAP personnel have accomplished the following:

  • More than 239,000 Iraqi police have been trained in courses developed and/or delivered by ICITAP/CPATT and ICITAP-trained Iraqi instructors, with more than 24,000 Iraqi police having participated in specialized and advanced training.
  • ICITAP/CPATT provided training to the Iraq Police Service for planning and adequate security during the January and December 2005 elections and the October 2005 referendum, resulting in international recognition for Iraqi police conduct and effectiveness in successfully securing polling stations.
  • ICITAP/CPATT founded and currently advises the Baghdad Police College, the Irbil Police College, and 10 regional basic training facilities throughout Iraq.

Regime Crimes Liaison Office

To support Iraqi efforts to prosecute members of the former Iraqi regime, the Justice Department stood up the Office of Regime Crimes Liaison (RCLO), supporting and assisting the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) with more than 140 personnel at its height who served a variety of advisory, security, investigative and support functions, including: investigative agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and USMS; prosecutors; military officers; and foreign nationals. RCLO is currently transition into a more supportive role which will continue to advise the IHT until the court has completed its caseload.

Anti-Corruption Training and Assistance

The Iraq Commission on Integrity, formerly the Commission on Public Integrity, was established as an independent, autonomous governmental body whose mission is to prevent and investigate corruption and promote transparency and the rule of law throughout Iraq.

  • COI personnel from ICITAP trained and rendered operational 146 Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and 161 Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigators who have been given responsibility for over 6,190 public corruption cases to date. These CPI officers are assigned to investigate alleged acts of corruption and provide protection for public officials who are threatened due to their cooperation with ongoing corruption investigations.
  • COI personnel have trained more than 203 Facilities Protection Service (FPS) guards and 99 Personal Security Detail Officers.
  • COI personnel assisted with the referral of more than 2,371 cases to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq for prosecutorial opinion.

Correctional Training and Assistance

The Iraq Corrections Service (ICS) Development Program has led the U.S. government efforts to reconstitute, develop, and train personnel who are critical to a modern Iraqi corrections system. To date, more than 9,900 corrections officers have graduated from ICITAP-established training programs, which have focused on teaching human rights practices and international standards.

  • In December 2006, the Iraq Prison Assessment Rating Tool (I-PART) was launched to measure capacity building according to 68 customized international prison treatment standards. This tool captures prison conditions, establishes a method for deploying necessary assets, and demonstrates programmatic results.
  • Having successfully built an indigenous training capacity with ICS, ICITAP are providing instructor development courses to Iraqi instructors who, in turn, provide advanced training in weapons, emergency response team, transportation, personal security detail, and biometrics to Iraqi and Kurdish Corrections Officers.
  • ICS personnel developed and assisted with the implementation of a records review system that has become a standard operating procedure and has proven essential in the timely review of detainee cases.
  • Under the supervision and training of ICITAP staff, ICS personnel continue to develop practical skills and professional status in anticipation of their assumption of management and security responsibility for prisons and detention centers throughout Iraq.