Criminal Justice Working Group launched by Supreme Judicial Council, Office of the National Security Advisor and UNDP

Nov 10, 2016

CJWG will invite the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to brief on its respective work during the next meeting in January 2017. Photo: UNDP Iraq/2016

Baghdad - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), and the Supreme Judicial Council inaugurated and co-chaired the first meeting of the Criminal Justice Working Group (CJWG) for the relevant Iraqi authorities and international partners on 10 November 2016 at Al Nahrain Centre for Strategic Studies in Baghdad.

The Working Group has the objective of improving national and international coordination and partner engagement, as well as seeking international assistance to Criminal Justice sector in Iraq.

UNDP’s Rule of Law Programme assists the Government of Iraq (GoI) on Security Sector Reform (SSR) through a partnership with ONSA, and support to the Criminal Justice System has been identified as a key priority within the Government's broader SSR agenda and one of the key areas for post-liberation Iraq. This work is made possible by the generous contributions from the Governments of Denmark and the Nerthelands.

In his opening remarks, Deputy National Security Advisor, Dr. Safaa Al-Shaikh, underscored: “Iraq is facing new challenges but also opportunities to reform the security and other sectors, as well as a possibility to prevent the emergence of new violence." 

Head of the Supreme Judicial Council and Chief Justice of Iraq, Mr. Medhat al-Mahmoud, said: “We welcome all the participants for the benefit and interest of the security of Iraq and the entire region. The objectives of this meeting are noble. It is important to concentrate on the root causes for crime, because efficient prevention is better than just finding methods of post-crime cure. 

In turn, UNDP’s SSR Adviser, Mr. Peter Iiskola, highlighted the importance of the National Security Strategy approved by the Council of Ministers in March 2016 to the overall SSR reform process in Iraq.

In light of the Offenders Journey, a 10-point perspective of the Criminal Justice System, the CJWG discussed possibilities of realizing an Integrated Criminal Justice Information Technology System and decided to prepare a report on this matter for its next meeting in January 2017. Mapping of the legal and other reform plans in addition to possibilities of shortening the lengthy time periods for detentions in some cases were also tackled. CJWG decided to invite the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to brief on its respective work at the next meeting. 

Attending the Working Group meeting were senior officials from the Supreme Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Shura State Council, National Security Service, Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), Ministry of Labor (MoL), ONSA, ANCSS, in addition to international partners including the Coalition Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) and its Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT). The European Union (EU), Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were also represented, as well as ICRC as an observer.


Chamila Hemmathagama, Programme Manager, Rule of Law, (m) +964 751 184 3529

Peter Iiskola, Adviser, Security Sector Reform, Rule of Law, (m) +964 790 110 1976

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