Juvenile justice is a fundamental – but often overlooked – component of criminal justice systems. It is also a critical element of successful international legal development models, but in a similar way is not a major focus of many international foreign assistance donors. To be sure, a comprehensive international framework for juvenile justice is in place. In the larger context of child protection, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes international standards for the treatment of children, including children in contact with law. This international mandate is supplemented by legal provisions in signatory states around the globe. In post-conflict societies, however, juvenile justice efforts must compete for resources with other pressing government concerns like security and economic stabilization. In Iraq in particular, the development of the juvenile justice system has encountered systemic challenges as the country has transitioned from totalitarian rule and continuous conflict to democracy and the rule of law.

After enduring three military conflicts since the early 1980s, sectarian violence, and volatile security conditions nationwide, Iraq is now emerging from a protracted period of instability. Insurgent activity has declined and elections in 2009 and 2010 were, despite some setbacks, viewed as largely successful.[1] With the continued drawdown of American forces and improved security conditions (the two issues that have dominated the public discourse since the most recent military intervention in 2003), the Iraqi government may now turn its attention to other pressing matters. Among those critical matters is strengthening the juvenile justice system. In 2010 Iraqis are presented with a real opportunity to improve the lives and prospects of some of their most vulnerable citizens.

This article, based largely on the author’s first hand experiences working with juvenile justice institutions in Baghdad Province, examines juvenile justice administration in the context of Iraq’s past and present, and offers a strategy for the future of juvenile justice administration in post-conflict Iraq. Part II discusses the international and national framework for juvenile justice and children’s rights, including the CRC, the Iraqi Constitution and the Iraqi Juvenile Care Law of 1983. It also identifies the numerous government bureaucracies that play a role in juvenile apprehension, adjudication, and rehabilitation. Part III examines historical challenges to maintaining international standards of juvenile justice, including the impacts of continuous conflict, totalitarian leadership and a lack of international attention. Part IV discusses the post-conflict administration of juvenile justice in both legal and practical terms and offers a strategic plan for strengthening the Iraqi system. Part V concludes with a look to the future.

The Legal Framework

The legal framework for Iraqi juvenile justice is a combination of international and national law, and national administration. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets minimum international standards for the treatment of children, including children in contact with the law. The Constitution of Iraq and the Iraqi Juvenile Care Law provide a national legal structure and process for the administration of juvenile justice. The responsibility for executing these legal provisions is spread across several ministries and the High Judicial Council of Iraq. Each of these components is examined in turn.

A.The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (“CRC”) was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1990.[2] The Republic of Iraq acceded to the CRC on 15 June 1994.[3] The CRC is a comprehensive international instrument addressing child rights and the responsibilities of signatory nations in securing those rights. Although it is broad in scope, the CRC mandate applies to juveniles in contact with the law in three particular areas: fundamental human rights, due process, and education.

1.Fundamental human rights

Under the CRC fundamental international human rights protections are extended to children in contact with the law. Article 37 prohibits torture and cruel and unusual punishment and bars the use of capital punishment or life imprisonment in juvenile cases. Prohibitions on torture and cruel and unusual punishment are consistent with current international humanitarian law as developed by the U.N. and other organizations.[4] Subsection (a) prohibits the execution of minors, although this is not strictly observed around the world.[5] (Similarly, the prohibition on imprisonment for life is not uniformly recognized.) Inconsistencies in implementation aside, Article 37(a) provides a human rights baseline for the legal treatment of children involved in the most serious crimes. It is from this baseline that signatory nations may promulgate additional protections for children in their jurisdictions.

Subsection (c) of Article 37 shifts focus to the protection of children in detention settings. The subsection requires humanitarian treatment, segregation from adult populations and family access. In practice, this requires separate, secure facilities for juvenile detainees that are accessible for family visitation. Further, once placed in detention, juvenile detainees have a right to appear promptly before a court with juvenile jurisdiction (seePart II(A)(2)). Next, Article 40(1) recognizes the child’s right to dignified treatment, a practice that is in turn designed to increase the child’s respect for fundamental human rights. Finally, Article 40(1) recognizes the importance of social reintegration. The concepts of the “desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration” and “the child’s assuming a constructive role in society” are a clear departure from the function of adult criminal justice, where sentencing is part of a prescribed punishment for crime and attention to rehabilitation and reintegration is, at best, secondary. In essence, the CRC’s fundamental rights provisions define the purpose of juvenile justice as rehabilitative and not punitive, and guarantee the basic human rights of children in contact with the law.

2.Due process

Equally important to the protection of children in contact with the law is the guarantee of due process rights. CRC Article 37(b) sets minimal due process standards for children in custody. The subsection prohibits arbitrary and extended detentions, and permits only those detentions expressly prescribed by international or national law. This provision is of particular importance in post-conflict environments like Iraq where so-called security detentions can blur the line between due process and socio-political expedience.[6] The CRC effectively excludes juveniles from the practice of security detentions – at least in theory – and requires that they spend the least possible amount of time in custody. Article 37(d) then guarantees legal assistance and the right to challenge the legality of detention. When implemented into national practice, these provisions can help to ensure that juvenile cases proceed expeditiously through the criminal justice system.

Article 40(2) expands upon the minimum due process provisions that must be afforded to juveniles in custody. Juveniles must have fair notice of what is considered criminal activity. Juveniles are presumed innocent and must be made aware of the charges lodged against them. Again the right to legal assistance is recognized. Juveniles are entitled to a swift justice process, protection from self-incrimination, appeals of findings, interpreters if necessary, and finally to privacy throughout their proceedings.

Finally, Articles 40(3) and (4) formally recognize the important distinction between the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems. Whereas adult systems are primarily penal in nature (with some exceptions for rehabilitation), the juvenile rehabilitation process is designed to educate and reintegrate. Section 3 requires a separate justice process for juveniles, a minimum age of responsibility,[7] and alternatives to prosecution.


The third area of CRC focus relevant to juvenile justice is education. CRC Article 28(1) begins its discussion of education with a simple, yet far-reaching opening phrase: “States Parties recognize the right of the child to education . . .” (emphasis added). Signatory states agree to make primary education compulsory and free to all, encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, make general and vocational education available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as offering financial assistance in case of need.[8] Thus, the CRC construes access to education as more than a mere benefit or privilege, and instead as a substantive right of all children. Although applicable to children in general, the education provisions are not limited to traditional institutional instruction. In other words, as a right, education must be made available not only for children in the classroom but also for children in contact with the law.

Closely related to the right to education is the child’s right to rest and recreation, or, in its simplest sense, the right to be a child. Recognizing how important leisure time is to a child’s general development, the CRC provides that signatory states “recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child . . . and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”[9] It appears that, at a minimum, juveniles in the custody of the state are entitled to leisure time at some point during the day. This practice encourages exercise, social interaction, and an understanding of group dynamics that is instrumental to the juvenile’s successful reintegration to society. The application of this provision in a practical setting is examined in Part IV(A).

In the context of juvenile justice, the rights to education and recreation encompass far more than classroom instruction and playtime. Children in contact with the law require full rehabilitation and preparation for their eventual social reintegration. CRC Article 29 perhaps best expresses the need for children to develop and prosper as part of society, calling for:

The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups . . .[10]

This can be a tall order, particularly for post-conflict nations that have a myriad of pressing reconstruction issues (see Part III). Often, the focus in states emerging from armed conflict is on immediate economic and security needs – or in some cases the very survival of governments – and not normally on comprehensive educational strategies for children in contact with the law. Unfortunately, myopic planning can lead to inattention and neglect, effectively passing the problem to the next generation. In other words, the failure to address juvenile delinquency in the short term eventually leads to more adult crime in the long term, crime that once again competes with juvenile justice needs for resources, and so on and so forth the cycle is repeated. The CRC serves as an important break in this cycle as it pushes the right to childhood education (and by extension rehabilitation and reintegration) to the forefront, making it equal with other sacrosanct rights and freedoms. In doing so, the CRC can play an important role not only in guaranteeing the education of children – both in and out of custody – but also in reducing adult criminal activity. At least in theory, CRC signatories can no longer sacrifice juvenile rehabilitation in the face of other social needs.

The CRC is an important international tool in the promotion of strong juvenile justice and child protection policies. It provides minimum fundamental rights, due process and educational standards for children, and includes children in contact with the law in its mandate. The efficacy of the CRC, however, is dependent upon a second structural component: national legal regimes. The next section discusses constitutional and statutory provisions of Iraqi law that govern the care of juveniles.

B.Iraqi law

In addition to setting forth its own protections, the CRC requires state parties to supplement its provisions with national laws and procedures on the treatment of children. Beginning with a common baseline, each signatory state can tailor its own juvenile justice and child protection policies to reflect national traditions and legal cultures. Iraq itself has no shortage of laws or legal tradition.[11] Like much of the Middle East, Iraq’s legal system has been influenced by multiple models of governance.[12] As a result of this diverse history, Iraqis are serious students of the law and legal education.[13] Iraq has acceded to the CRC and developed a bifurcated criminal justice system for adults and juveniles. The administration of juvenile justice is governed by two key documents: 1) the Iraqi Constitution, and 2) Law No. 76 of 1983 as amended, the Iraqi Juvenile Care Law of 1983 (“Juvenile law”).

1.The Constitution of Iraq

An examination Iraq’s juvenile justice provisions as they align with the three CRC areas of fundamental rights, due process, and education discussed in Part II(A) begins with a review of fundamental human rights protections. In Iraq, the basic rights of Iraqi citizens – including children in contact with the law – are guaranteed by the Constitution of Iraq. Section 1, Articles 5 and 13(1) establish the rule of law.[14] Section 2 enumerates rights and liberties, including political rights, family security, and civil liberties. Section 2 also prohibits torture and establishes judicial process for investigations and detentions. These general guarantees correspond with CRC fundamental rights provisions, and indeed with tenets of democratic governance around the world.

2.The Juvenile Care Law of 1983

Moving from broad fundamental rights into the more specific areas of due process and education, the key legal provision is the Juvenile Care Law of 1983. In its preamble the law states:

The Juvenile Care Law shall aim at restricting the phenomena of juvenile delinquency through protecting the juvenile [from] delinquency as well as adopting him socially in the community.[15]

The Juvenile law expands on fundamental principles enumerated in the Constitution, establishes a Council of Juvenile Welfare (discussed in Part II(C)), sets up administrative provisions for establishing rehabilitation schools, evaluating juveniles, and early detection of delinquent behavior, and provides the legal framework for investigating, adjudicating and rehabilitating juveniles in contact with the law. Although the original version of the Juvenile law predates the CRC, the parallels between the two are unmistakable. Part IV of the Juvenile Care law contains due process provisions, establishing procedures for the investigation and trial of juveniles. Part II establishes schools of rehabilitation while Parts V and VII provide for the rehabilitation of adjudicated juveniles and for their release and reintegration.

The role of the ministries

After international and national legal provisions, the third component of the Iraqi juvenile justice system is the administrative aspect, or the role of the implementing agencies. Under the Iraqi legal framework six government departments – three to a great extent and three to a lesser extent – are responsible for the administration of Iraqi juvenile justice. The Iraqi judicial branch, under the High Judicial Council (HJC), is responsible for the investigation, trial, and adjudication of juveniles in contact with the law. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (“MoLSA”), a massive agency with numerous social services responsibilities, operates juvenile centers for both pre and post-adjudication detainees, and is the lead agency for rehabilitation activities. The Ministry of Interior (“MOI”) administers the juvenile police, a separate force from the regular police. Three other ministries play smaller roles. The Ministry of Education (“MOE”) provides teachers for rehabilitation schools, the Ministry of Health (“MOH”) staffs clinics at pre and post trial facilities, and the Ministry of Human Rights (“MHR”) makes humanitarian inspections.

The Council establishes a template for interagency cooperation in juvenile justice matters,[16] and brings together the various agencies assigned juvenile justice responsibilities and is empowered to adopt an annual juvenile policy, recognize houses of rehabilitation, and make recommendations for the prevention of juvenile delinquency.[17] Although historically there have been barriers to interagency cooperation (see Part III(B)), the Council is the lead coordinating body for juvenile justice administration.

In Iraq the administration of juvenile justice is a multi-department effort governed by constitutional principles and the terms of the Juvenile law. The efficacy of the juvenile justice system has, however, been impacted by various historical challenges.

Historical Challenges

In the past 30 years Iraq has faced serious internal and external challenges to the successful administration of its juvenile justice system. A nearly perpetual state of war, vertically organized bureaucracies, and a shortage of international attention to juvenile justice have proved difficult to overcome.

A. A perpetual state of conflict

On 17 September 1980, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein officially abrogated the 1975 treaty recognizing Iran’s claims to the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, propelling Iraq into full-scale war with its neighbor.[18] The conflict, which lasted for the next eight years, came at a high cost: US$15 billion spent and tens of thousands of Iraqi men killed or imprisoned annually. It also brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.[19] On 17 January 1991, just three years after the Iran conflict ended in a virtual draw, a military coalition led by the United States began massive airstrikes on Iraq. The action was in response to Iraq’s own aggressive move against its neighbor Kuwait. Within days the Iraqi army withdrew from Kuwait, returning to a nation still crippled financially and psychologically by the Iranian conflict. Sanctions were quickly imposed on the Ba’athist government and would have a paralyzing effect for the next ten years. Finally, on 20 March 2003, the second massive air assault in just over a decade began. For almost six weeks a coalition of forces attacked Iraqi targets. Saddam Hussein went into hiding. In December 2003 he was captured near his hometown of Tikrit. Three years later, on 30 December 2006, Saddam Hussein was executed for crimes against humanity. A long period of conflict and destructive totalitarian rule was over. But the Iraq that emerged was damaged both politically and economically.

The effect of Saddam’s rule and the near constant state of conflict it brought was to deplete resources and destabilize Iraqi civil society. Displacement, unemployment and continued violence have pushed economic and security issues to the forefront. Along with reducing the American military presence in Iraq, improving the economic and security situation has been the primary concern of the government and the Iraqi public since the fall of Saddam. This concern tends to dominate the public discourse and consume available resources – both from domestic budgets and international aid. Unable to compete for these scarce resources, issues like juvenile justice sector reform have necessarily had to wait. As a result, both the law and infrastructure for juvenile justice administration are somewhat out of date.

B. Vertical administration

In addition to the damaging effects of nearly continuous conflict since 1980, the Iraqi juvenile justice system – like Iraqi governmental processes in general – suffered from the imposition of a vertical administration[20] in the Saddam Hussein regime. Rather than promote a cooperative government bureaucracy that shared information and responsibilities across departments, Saddam enforced strict centralization and chain-of-command loyalty that minimized independence and supported his own personal rule. Professor Charles Tripp explains the challenges to bureaucratic process:

On the one hand, an elaborate and complex bureaucracy developed, affecting the lives of Iraqis in all spheres. Formal procedures proliferated, requiring mountains of paperwork and an army of officials to work the system – a system which placed great stress on conformity, on strict spheres of responsibility and on meticulous attention to the details of form and discipline. The very complexity of the state and party bureaucracies made it difficult for any one official to gain an overview of the whole since their immediate task was to fulfill their small role in the larger apparatus – or face the disciplinary procedures which were so prominent a feature of the process. The web of complex procedures thus drew individuals into an operational straightjacket, making them vulnerable to those who effectively controlled state power.[21]

The regime imposed a level of complexity that not only required numerous, compartmentalized civil servants, but also kept those civil servants isolated from one another, unable to view government process as a whole. Tripp continues:

[Under Saddam] [t]here existed in Iraq a dual state. The elaborate bureaucracy of government agencies, state-run enterprises and organisations formed the public state of Iraq. They comprised the ministries, the official associations, the armed forces and the Ba’th party. But behind this lay a ‘shadow state,’ formed by networks of associates, chains of patrons and clients, circles of exclusion, and privilege emanating from the office and person of the president. This was the real nexus of power. It stood behind all public state organisations, turning their hierarchies upside down and answering to a very different set of commands.[22]

As the “official” government of Iraq charged with administering the government, the bureaucracy was dominated by a second, behind-the-scenes authority that existed more or less as an alter-ego of the president. Loyalty to this authority “turned upside down” the functions of government agencies, making routine functions all but impossible. It also shifted their employees’ focus from cooperative administration to self-preservation. Given the relatively large number of government agencies involved in the administration of juvenile justice (see Part II(c)), it is easy to see how the vertical, chain-of-command structure of the Saddam years led to systemic dysfunction. With stakeholder agencies either unable or unwilling to communicate with each other lest they run afoul of the “procedures,” cooperative efforts – like juvenile justice – suffered. Furthermore, it was not only the bureaucracy that suffered from a highly centralized governmental structure. The Iraqi court system answered to the same “shadow government” under Saddam, and was severely restricted by it. It was not until 2005 that judicial independence was guaranteed in the Iraqi Constitution.[23]

Though abating, the legacy of vertical, compartmentalized government is apparent today. The bureaucracy in Iraq is still highly hierarchical and compartmentalized. As discussed in Part IV, this phenomenon has made juvenile justice administration difficult. Because of the numerous agencies involved, poor communication and lack of cooperation can have a particularly paralyzing effect. Vertical administration also increases the potential for corruption, as there are fewer checks and balances between agencies and less interagency oversight.[24]

C. An international blind spot

The final challenge to Iraqi juvenile justice development can be described as a blind spot in the foreign assistance blueprint. Although many governments, non-governmental organizations, and other aid groups focus on the distinct aspects of criminal justice and child protection in Iraq, there has been relatively little programming specifically dedicated to their overlap: juvenile justice development. This disconnect means that international attention to criminal justice normally entails technical assistance for adult prisons and prosecutions, while child protection efforts typically focus on underserved minor populations that are not in custody, such as refugee, internally-displaced or disabled children.[25]

The harmful effect of this inattention to juvenile detainees is twofold. First, children in custody are already less likely to attract monetary aid, as they are often viewed as “provided for” by the Iraqi state. The failure to specifically identify them in foreign assistance programming ignores the fact that often this is not the case. Although housed in secure facilities, juveniles in Iraq do not always receive adequate education, nutrition or medical care. Second, inattention from international donors makes it easier for violations of detainee rights to go unnoticed. Adequate juvenile justice administration requires not only effective rehabilitation of detained children, but also monitoring of those who work with detained children. In effect, the less the international community engages the specific population of children in contact with the law, the greater the risk of humanitarian crises within the system.

Post-Conflict Juvenile Justice: The Way Ahead

If the international and national framework for juvenile justice is in place, the practical application of juvenile justice in Iraq has been, because of numerous external and internal factors, a less than straightforward process. Scarce resources, a hobbled bureaucracy, and international inattention have made compliance with international and local mandates difficult at best. As Iraqis and the international community adjust to a post-conflict Iraq, many systemic challenges persist. However, post-election stability – in terms of security and the rule of law – can offer a path to the improved administration of juvenile justice in the country. What must now emerge is a clear Iraqi strategy for the effective administration of Iraqi juvenile justice.

A. Systemic challenges

Despite continued efforts of Iraqi and international officials, systemic problems persist:

The promotion and protection of the rights of children remained a major challenge during the reporting period. . . Access to essential social services is a daily challenge to the community as a whole, with particular impact on children. Detention of children and young people in adult detention centres and the lack of specialized centres and community-based programmes for their rehabilitation continue to require immediate government attention.

Children and adolescents in contact with Iraqi security forces continued to be exposed to physical and psychological ill-treatment, particularly upon arrest and during the early stages of investigation. The criminal justice system places an overwhelming weight on confessions and detained children are almost inevitably subjected to some form of violence by investigators with the aim of obtaining a confession. Children are likely to spend lengthy periods in pre-trial detention in violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards on juvenile justice. Key actors, service providers and institutions lack knowledge of modern juvenile justice procedures. The social support systems are inadequate, obsolete and under-funded. The Juvenile Care Law (1983) needs to be reviewed in line with international standards and Iraq’s obligations under international law.(Emphasis added)[26]

The concerns voiced by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) with regard to inadequate rehabilitation, police violence, lengthy detentions, and an out-of-date juvenile care law are troubling because they are exactly the type of problems the CRC is intended to prevent.[27] It is clear that post-conflict Iraq faces serious challenges in the administration of its juvenile justice system, and that to date not all legal and administrative deficiencies have been resolved.

An example of a major systemic challenge – but also of incremental progress – is the only juvenile girls’ facility in Baghdad. The following discussion of the facility is based on my notes from site visits between December 2008 and July 2009, and other field research.

The girls’ facility is located in a small residential compound in a quiet neighborhood of the city, in what at first glance could be mistaken for a villa or private house. It is co-located with a residence for homeless boys, and both facilities are operated by MoLSA. The section for girls houses both pretrial and post-adjudication detainees as a general population (usually about 20-25 girls total), and it is common for one or more detainees to have a child living with them in custody. The physical plant of the facility is in decent condition, but electrical power is inconsistent. Like many facilities in Baghdad Province, the connection to the national power grid is unreliable and backup power generators are necessary. During most visits of two to four hours, the power went out at least once. Power outages damage equipment and can make the intense summer heat uncomfortable and unhealthy for the residents.

Despite legal guarantees of education, there were no professional teachers assigned to the girls’ facility. This is in part due to the fact that teachers expect premium or danger pay for teaching at detention facilities and, for whatever reason, neither MoLSA nor the MoE pay the additional stipend. As a result, the job is left to facility staff who are able to provide little more than remedial Arabic instruction. This is in contrast to conditions at neighboring boys’ facilities, where regular classes – though not always taught by professional teachers – are the norm. The lack of any regular instruction at the girls’ facility is a sign of gender inequity in Iraq’s juvenile justice system.

Another apparent inequity in the system relates to recreational activities. At the girls’ facility there is very little space for any type of exercise or recreation. The girls remain inside the small compound for most of the day and there were no reports of regular physical fitness activities. By contrast, during my visits to Baghdad’s juvenile centers for boys, I regularly saw the residents “engage[d] in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child,”[28] The disparity in both instruction and access to recreation may be due to social attitudes toward the detention of girls. From a socio-cultural perspective, the detention of juvenile girls appears to be somewhat less accepted than the detention of boys. This may explain why girls in detention appear to receive less attention.

Family visitation at the girls’ facility is accommodated, but some detainees are out of contact with their families due to internal displacement or estrangement. MoLSA officials have reported that there are not enough resources to track down family members. Outside aid groups do provide reunification services, but with an ever-changing population at the facility there is no guarantee that detainees will be in regular contact with their families, a significant element of successful rehabilitation. From the adjudication perspective, some of the girls appear to be held for extended periods in pre-trial detention. This practice conflicts with the CRC requirement that juveniles be detained for the “shortest appropriate period of time.” Whether the delay is due to backlogs at the court or is the result of a breakdown in bureaucratic communication, some girls at the facility may go for extended periods of time without seeing a judge.

Finally, in 2008 the girls’ facility became the subject of an occupancy dispute between MoLSA and another ministry interested in the property. Normally, the transfer of property between two government ministries would be an unremarkable event. This transfer, however, was another matter. Not only would the girls (and the homeless boys co-located on site) be forced to leave a secure compound in a relatively safe neighborhood, but fairly deep into the process there was no new facility for the girls identified.[29] This may have been a result of poor planning or a simple lack of awareness of the female detainee population.[30] Whatever the reason, the residents of the facility faced an imminent eviction from a secure residence. What made matters worse was that all decisions on improvements to the property (e.g. generator upgrades, expansion, and classroom construction) were deferred until the question of title could be resolved. This naturally had a paralyzing effect on efforts to strengthen rehabilitation programs at the facility and eventually required outside intervention.

Despite these obvious problems, there are positive signs of progress at the facility. The investigative judge with responsibility over the district visited the site often and was aware of delays in the adjudication process. On one visit by this author it was discovered that the Minister for Human Rights had visited earlier in the week, a sign of increased interagency cooperation. Moreover, as of July 2009 the property issue had been settled. After pressure from two other Iraqi ministries, a parliamentary committee and a large international agency, the Government of Iraq left the facility under MoLSA control and the residents avoided displacement. This was a good result that will enable MoLSA to improve rehabilitation programs for the girls at the facility.

B. New stability

As of 1 January 2009, the Iraqi government assumed overall responsibility for security in the country. The changeover was the result of the expiration of United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1790 (“UNSCR 1790”),[31] and the adoption of a bilateral security agreement with the United States. The “SOFA” agreement made several changes to U.S. policy required by the expiration of UNSCR 1790. Most notably, the SOFA set a timetable for all American troops to withdraw from Iraq.[32]

The implementation of the SOFA was followed by elections in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces in late January 2009, and by national parliamentary elections in March 2010. These elections were viewed as successful and free of large-scale corruption. The current uncertainty in parliament notwithstanding, the political process appears to have stabilized to a point where the government and bureaucracy can function at a level beyond self-preservation. Finally, violence is down (though not eradicated) from its peak in 2004 and 2005. Although various groups continue to perpetrate attacks on civilians, there is no longer a highly organized insurgency effort.

Positive electoral and security developments demonstrate that the rule of law is advancing. With fewer resources devoted to security, other matters of public interest may share in the pool of Iraqi and international funds. In particular, new stability presents an opportunity for Iraq to review and strengthen its juvenile justice model.

Toward a stronger Iraqi juvenile justice system

In 2010 it is somewhat easy to look back and identify where things went wrong for the Iraqi juvenile justice system of the past. Continuous conflict, the overbearing regime of Saddam Hussein, and international inattention are all part of the historical record. What is more difficult to predict is the future of juvenile justice in the new Iraq. At a minimum, the Iraqi government is bound by international and national law to provide fundamental protections, rehabilitation and social reintegration for children in contact with the law. The ideal strategy for strengthening the administration of Iraqi juvenile justice should address six elements, four by the Government of Iraq and two additional elements by the international donor community. These are outlined below.

The Government of Iraq:

1.Effective policing and pre-adjudication process.

A strong juvenile justice system begins with effective and even-handed policing. Unfortunately, there is a common perception in Iraq that juvenile police are lower in status than military or regular police. This perception must change. First, juvenile police should receive special training in juvenile law enforcement, investigative techniques, and the human rights of children. Instruction in proper interview procedures, for example, will address UNAMI’s concern of violence during interrogations. Second, because they require special training and expertise to carry out their mandate, juvenile police should be compensated accordingly. Offering pay commensurate with other law enforcement officials will improve perceptions of occupational status and will also reduce the potential for corrupt behavior.

Next, security sweeps that result in the arrest of juveniles, anathema to the CRC’s prohibition on the arbitrary detention of children, must end. Setting aside any discussion of the propriety of adult security detentions, it is clear that detaining juveniles in this manner is a violation of international law. Lacking the sophistication of adult detainees and less likely to protest incarceration, juveniles are particularly vulnerable in custodial situations. Only by eliminating the possibility of their arbitrary detention can they be adequately protected.

MoLSA and the HJC must also increase attention to the legitimate pretrial detention process, focusing on shortening pretrial detention periods and safeguarding the human rights of detainees. This can be effectuated by providing the safest, most secure facilities possible, cooperating with other ministries and international groups on humanitarian monitoring, and working collaboratively to move cases from the investigation stage to the trial and adjudication stages. Finally, officials should segregate juveniles in custody by age, crime type, and status in judicial proceedings. Separating older detainees from younger ones and serious and minor offenders protects more vulnerable populations within the juvenile justice system and facilitates age appropriate rehabilitation. Maintaining separate pre and post-trial facilities recognizes the very different purposes of brief pretrial detentions and social rehabilitation.[33]

2.Judicial process.

One result of international assistance work in Iraq is apparent: Iraq now has a more robust and independent judiciary than at any time since the rise of Saddam Hussein. The case of the now infamous “shoe thrower”[34] is illustrative. After the defendant was apprehended and charged, the case moved expeditiously through the Iraqi court system without interference from the executive. Moreover, the original sentence imposed was reviewed and reduced – an indication that the judicial branch is now prepared to assert its full authority over the adjudication of criminal matters.

While high visibility cases like the shoe thrower are a sign of progress away from totalitarian rule, they do not present the full picture of the new Iraqi judiciary. Many low visibility cases – juvenile adjudications among them – remain in a state of backlog. Court process is slow and the quality of investigations and trials can be lacking. This result may be due to the stark reality of post-conflict Iraq: it is an overwhelmed bench in a country where it is still very dangerous to be a judge. Nonetheless, the courts must address backlogs and ensure that cases move quickly through the system from apprehension to adjudication. An expedient, transparent process will reduce corruption, shorten detention times, and relieve pressure on the system. Judicial training should include training on the distinct purposes of juvenile detection and rehabilitation in the context of the larger criminal justice system.

Outside of the judicial process, judges can – and have – advocated for changes to the Juvenile law. At least one juvenile judge has advocated raising the minimum age of responsibility from nine to 11 or higher. This change, along with UNAMI-recommended updates to bring Iraq into line with other CRC standards, will promote a more effective system without exposing the youngest and most vulnerable to the harsh effects of the law.

3.Enhanced rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is central to the mission of Iraqi juvenile justice. Preparing the juvenile offender for a successful social reintegration is a serious matter. An adequate rehabilitation program begins with secure, undisputed facilities. Next, MoLSA must consider necessary physical improvements, including utility and classroom (or other teaching space) upgrades. Additionally, MoLSA and the MOE should develop a broader educational curriculum and place professional teachers on-site. If the latter cannot be accomplished without paying a premium salary to teachers, then that is an initiative the Government of Iraq should be prepared to support. Finally, juvenile girls must benefit from improvements to rehabilitation programs. In Iraq there is significant room for improvement in this area. In a modern Iraqi society where women work as physicians, professors and parliamentarians, there is no reason why juvenile girls should not be provided with rehabilitative programs equivalent to those of their male counterparts.

The CRC requirement to rehabilitate children in contact with the law can prove to be challenging in a post-conflict society where resources are scarce. Still, all Iraqi children deserve a “responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples . . .”[35] The development of strong rehabilitation programs honors this mandate.

4.Interagency cooperation.

The initiatives outlined in elements 1-3 above will require full cooperation between the ministries responsible for the administration of juvenile justice. To be sure, it will take time to fully reverse the vertical bureaucracy of the Saddam years and develop a cooperative approach. However, each time MoLSA and the MoE collaborate on teacher placement or the Human Rights minister visits a detention facility, Tripp’s “operational straightjacket” is loosened. A successful juvenile justice program will be the result of the bureaucracy continuing in this direction and addressing juvenile justice administration in a comprehensive manner.

The Council of Juvenile Welfare is a logical place to begin the process of comprehensive reform. As a representative body of numerous stakeholders, the Council is well positioned to break down institutional barriers and foster cooperative administration of juvenile justice. Beyond the Council, there may be other suitable means for effectuating reform. Smaller juvenile justice committees established on a regional or provincial level can address issues specific to their jurisdictions, as well as provide the Council with recommendations. The form of these committees is not important. What is needed is substantive discussion and interagency cooperation in policing, judicial process, and rehabilitation.

The international donor community:

5.Targeted foreign assistance.

International missions in Iraq must recalibrate their approach to juvenile justice programming. As immediate economic and security pressures ease, the international donor community should prioritize juvenile justice. Because today’s juvenile offenders will be tomorrow’s reintegrated citizens (or in the alternative tomorrow’s adult criminals), the earlier the international community identifies and supports effective juvenile rehabilitation and reintegration efforts the more the Iraqi government and society will benefit in the future. As Rausch et al sum up: “The political and financial commitment of the [foreign assistance] providers must match the needs of a post-conflict situation.”[36] In other words, as the Iraqi agenda shifts from immediate threats to social rebuilding, so too must the international assistance effort.

Assistance need not always be in the form of monetary aid. As evidenced by the case of the girls’ facility, persuasive international efforts targeted at the relevant Iraqi authorities can also be effective. In that case bringing the issue to the attention of the Iraqi government along with a small amount of international pressure was instrumental in maintaining the facility as a juvenile center. This persuasive approach is desirable for two reasons. First, as suggested it costs nothing to international donors. Precious resources are thus saved for other development projects. Second, persuasion has the effect of bringing together the distinct Iraqi agencies involved in the administration of juvenile justice, breaking down vertical barriers, and vesting ownership of the final decision in the Government of Iraq.

If future international development efforts are to be effective, donors must recognize the need for increased attention to juvenile justice systems and the value of both financial and non-financial assistance.

6.CRC compliance and monitoring

On a final note, under Article 44 of the CRC Iraq has a continuing duty to report on its progress to the international community. Reporting is both a responsibility and an opportunity for Iraq to continue strengthening juvenile justice administration. The reporting requirement should also be a concern of international donors. The international community should be prepared to provide sustained financial and technical assistance in support of Iraq’s compliance efforts. By assisting Iraq with compliance, donors can play an important role in promoting rehabilitation and reintegration of juveniles, and respect for the human rights of children in contact with the law.


Although challenges remain, the stage is set for major advances in Iraqi juvenile justice to be made. Subject to some modernization at the national level, the legal framework is in place. Major conflict is over. The highly centralized, vertical bureaucracy of Saddam is gradually coming down. An improving political and security situation should enable the Iraqi government to turn its attention to juvenile justice and other critical issues. Increased attention to juvenile justice development from the international community will provide the necessary expertise and foreign assistance resources. Most importantly, a robust and independent judiciary can provide legal and procedural safeguards for juveniles in contact with the law.

What happens next is the prerogative of Iraqi policymakers and, to a lesser extent, the international donor community. Increased attention to child offenders requires both funding and cooperative administration. As the security threat eases, those in control of the budget process must provide adequate financial support to operate the juvenile justice system. Cooperation among the main stakeholders – juvenile police, the courts, and rehabilitation managers – will both speed judicial process and ensure the development of appropriate rehabilitation programs.

As a particularly vulnerable population, juveniles in contact with the law are deserving of the best legal protections and highest humanitarian standards the global community can provide. By addressing juvenile delinquency with an appropriate detection, adjudication, rehabilitation, and re-integration strategy, Iraq – and indeed all societies – can prevent the juvenile offender from maturing into an adult threat to security and prosperity. Acknowledgments

The author would like to acknowledge the Iraqi juvenile judges, ministry officials, attorneys, police, and facility directors, staff, and teachers who work tirelessly in difficult and dangerous conditions to provide for the detection, adjudication, and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. Although the work of these men and women is often out of the public eye, their contributions to Iraqi society are invaluable.

Article 4

States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.

Article 28

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;

(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;

(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;

(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy

throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 29

1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;

(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;

(c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;

(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;

(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.

2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principle set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.

Article 31

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Article 37

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

Article 40

1. States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.

2. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of international instruments, States Parties shall, in particular, ensure that:

(a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed;

(b) Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees:

(i) To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;

(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence;

(iii) To have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or situation, his or her parents or legal guardians;

(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality;

(v) If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law;

(vi) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;

(vii) To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.

3. States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law, and, in particular:

(a) The establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law;

(b) Whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.

4. A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counselling; probation; foster care; education and vocational training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offence.

Article 44

1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Committee, through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, reports on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights recognized herein and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights

(a) Within two years of the entry into force of the Convention for the State Party concerned;

(b) Thereafter every five years.

2. Reports made under the present article shall indicate factors and difficulties, if any, affecting the degree of fulfilment of the obligations under the present Convention. Reports shall also contain sufficient information to provide the Committee with a comprehensive understanding of the implementation of the Convention in the country concerned.

3. A State Party which has submitted a comprehensive initial report to the Committee need not, in its subsequent reports submitted in accordance with paragraph 1(b) of the present article, repeat basic information previously provided.

4. The Committee may request from States Parties further information relevant to the implementation of the Convention.

5. The Committee shall submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, every two years, reports on its activities.

6. States Parties shall make their reports widely available to the public in their own countries.

Referenced Provisions of the Constitution of Iraq

Article 5

The law is sovereign. The people are the source of authority and legitimacy, which they shall exercise in a direct, general, secret ballot and through their constitutional institutions.

Article 13(1)

First: This Constitution is the preeminent and supreme law in Iraq and shall be binding in all parts of Iraq without exception.

Article 15

Every individual has the right to enjoy life, security and liberty. Deprivation or restriction of these rights is prohibited except in accordance with the law and based on a decision issued by a competent judicial authority.

Article 87

The judicial power is independent. The courts, in their various types and levels, shall assume this power and issue decisions in accordance with the law.

Ian M. Catlett is an international law and human rights attorney who worked as a Rule of Law Advisor for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq in 2008-2009. Many of the points raised in the article are discussed in the context of his own experiences in Iraq. In discussing the challenges to post-conflict juvenile justice in Iraq this anecdotal information, as well as other commentary, is provided for context and to develop the main points of discussion. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the United States Government or any agency thereof, or of any other organization.

[1]As this article is being written the 2010 national election has yet to be settled. Initially, it appeared that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliky’s coalition placed second in terms of seats in the Iraqi parliament, and the task of establishing a new government would fall to his main challenger, Ayad Allawi. That result is now is doubt, and, pending some candidate disqualifications and a recount, may or may not be upheld. What this means for government operations in the short term is unclear. It is, however, a propitious development that the main parties appear willing to use the established legal process to resolve the issue.

[2]United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U. N. T. S. 3, 20 Nov. 1989 (entry into force 2 September 1990); Resolution 44/25 of 20 Nov. 1989 (effective 2 September 1990).

[3]Iraq did submit one reservation to the CRC pertaining to Article 14, paragraph 1 (Freedom of Religion). That reservation is not relevant to this discussion, however.

[4]Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85, 10 December 1984 (entry into force 26 June 1987); GA Res. 39/46 of 10 December 1984 (effective 26 June 1987), defines torture as “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, . . . intentionally inflicted on a person . . . for any reason based on discrimination of any kind . . . with the consent or acquiescence of a public official . . .,” while Article 3 of the same prohibits the expulsion or forced return of a person subject to such torture. Similarly, Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe, C.E.T.S. No.: 005, 4 November 1950 (entry into force 3 September 1953), prohibits “torture . . . inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Finally, the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, Organization of American States, OAS Treaty Series No. 67 (entry into force 28 February 1987), prohibits torture, which it defines as “any act intentionally performed whereby physical or mental pain or suffering is inflicted on a person” (Article 2).

[5]Juvenile capital punishment is still on the books in Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, though only Iran and Saudi Arabia executed juveniles in 2009. See Amnesty International, ‘Death Sentences and Executions 2009,’ available at (site visited 6 April 2010). The United States Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment for persons who committed their crime under the age of 18 in 2005, citing as part of its opinion that the practice was in violation of the CRC. See Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 576, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161 L.Ed.2d 1 (2005) (writing: “Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every country in the world has ratified save for the United States and Somalia, contains an express prohibition on capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles under 18.”) The status of juvenile capital punishment in Somalia is unclear due to the absence of an effective government since the 1990s.

[6]In many post-conflict environments both juveniles and adults are detained not by court warrant but rather as a result of routine security sweeps. Once a person is placed in custody, a common practice is to err on the side of continued detention rather than filing formal charges or summarily releasing the detainee. This practice is particularly harsh on juveniles, who often lack the resources or sophistication to challenge continued detention.

[7] Minimum age of responsibility is not uniform throughout the world. The minimum age in Europe, for example, tends to be higher than many other areas of the world. For a discussion on Iraq’s mimimum age of responsibility see Part IV(C) Recommendation 2.

[8]CRC Art. 28(1).

[9]CRC Art. 31(1) and (2).

[10]CRC Art. 29(d).

[11]During my assignment I heard more than one Iraqi state something to the effect of: “Law started in Iraq with Hammurabi.”

[12]Although modern Iraq has a predominantly civil law system in the model of France, that system has been influenced by clan-based, pre-Islamic traditions, the rise of Arab and Islamic societies, Ottoman conquest, and finally British and American common law administrations.

[13]Indeed, the Iraqi legal tradition is robust. Even in the midst of sectarian violence and attacks targeting court personnel, the public made use of the court system. On numerous visits throughout Baghdad Province, I observed courthouses to be busy with litigants and attorneys. In addition, the University of Baghdad Law School is one of the oldest in the Middle East and is a source of pride for many Iraqi attorneys and scholars.

[14]Constitution of Iraq, ratified 15 October 2005.

[15] Juvenile Care Law No. 76 of 1983, Official Gazette No. 38, 19 September 1984, Preamble.

[16]Juvenile Law, Part Two, Chapter One.

[17]Juvenile Law, Part Two, Chapter One, Article 8.

[18]Phoebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq (2d ed. Westview Press 2004), at 184.

[19] William R. Polk, Understanding Iraq (Harper Perennial 2005), at 128.

[20]Others have called this phenomenon “stovepiping.” Whatever the label, it is a management system predicated upon centralized control and strict chain-of-command loyalty.

[21] Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq (3d ed. Cambridge University Press 2007), at 216.

[22]Tripp, at 259.

[23]Article 87 of the Constitution establishes an independent judicial power.

[24] There were reports that the lack of communication between the police, detention centers and courts may have enabled some officials to extract bribes from parents of juvenile offenders in exchange for moving their cases through the system. These reports were unconfirmed, but are possible in an environment where individual agencies are not able hold each other accountable throughout the process.

[25]This is not intended as a criticism of international efforts to assist criminal justice institutions or children. It is meant only to recognize the equally critical nature of juvenile justice systems.

[26]United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 1 JANUARY – 30 JUNE 2009, paragraphs 39 and 42, at 14-15.

[27]With regard to lengthy pretrial detentions, on one occasion a male juvenile detainee reported that he had been in custody for three years without seeing a judge.

[28]CRC Art. 31.

[29]An alternative location had been specified for the homeless boys, although it was reported to be smaller and thought by some to be inadequate.

[30]Indeed, during this dispute I spoke with one MoLSA official who did not know the location of the girls’ facility and had clearly never visited the site.

[31]United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1790, 18 December 2007.

[32] Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq on the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities During Their Temporary Presence in Iraq (also known as the Status of Forces Agreement or “SOFA”). The SOFA entered into force on January 1, 2009. Article 24 ‘Withdrawal of the United States Forces from Iraq,’ reads in relevant part:

Recognizing the performance and increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, the assumption of full security responsibility by those Forces, and based upon the strong relationship between the Parties, an agreement on the following has been reached:
1. All United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.
2. All United States combat forces shall withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, and localities no later than the time at which Iraqi Security Forces assume full responsibility for security in an Iraqi province, provided that such withdrawal is completed no later than June 30, 2009.

A second, non-binding bilateral agreement, the Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq (SFA), lays out the basis for continued bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

[33]In Baghdad Province the pre and post-trial facilities for boys are separate. In addition, there is a small rehabilitation facility for younger boys near the main rehabilitation school. Crime type segregation for boys is not apparent. The girls are housed at one facility and there does not appear to be any segregation of the population.

[34]During a joint press conference between Prime Minister Al-Maliky and visiting President George W. Bush in 2008, Iraqi journalist Muntadher al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush, slightly missing his target.

[35]CRC Art. 29(d).

[36] Colette Rausch, Ed. Combating Serious Crimes in Postconflict Societies (United States Institute of Peace Press 2006), at 147.

One Response to Juvenile Justice in Transition: Past Challenges and New Opportunities in Post-Conflict Iraq

  1. Wilson Myers says:

    This is an outstanding article, written by a person that knows his subject well and is dedicated to the betterment of children in Iraq. I had the privilege of working with Ian while I served at the PRT Baghdad in Iraq. His observations are accurate and his conclusions are sound. The Juvenile Justice Sector was all but ignored by most Rule of Law actors at the US Embassy and international community. Ian’s effort brought needed support and attention to this vital area or Iraqi ROL development. Iraqi society is better becasue Ian served in Iraq.