US embassy cable - 04BAGHDAD17

USEB 018: IRAQI GOVERNMENT SIGNALS TOUGHER SENTENCES FOR CRIMINALS AND TERRORISTS

Identifier: 04BAGHDAD17
Wikileaks: View 04BAGHDAD17 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2004-07-02 17:37:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER PGOV PREL PINS MARR IZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 021737Z JUL 04
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0027
INFO WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000017 
 
 
STATE FOR NEA/NGA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2014 
TAGS:  PTER, PGOV, PREL, PINS, MARR, IZ 
SUBJECT:  USEB 018: IRAQI GOVERNMENT SIGNALS TOUGHER 
SENTENCES FOR CRIMINALS AND TERRORISTS 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 00001 
 
CLASSIFIED BY DCM JAMES JEFFREY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
    1.  (C) SUMMARY.  SENIOR IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT (IIG) 
OFFICIALS ARE MAKING CLEAR THAT THEY BELIEVE TOUGHER 
MEASURES NEED TO BE TAKEN TO DEFEAT VIOLENCE.  THEY HAVE 
BEEN CLEAR THAT TRANSPARENT RULE OF LAW PROCEDURES WOULD 
STILL APPLY.  THE ISSUE MAY BE MORE COMPLICATED IN THE 
FIELD.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) SENIOR IRAQI OFFICIALS HAVE MADE A PARTICULAR POINT 
OF MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE AWARE THEY INTEND TO TAKE A 
TOUGH LINE AGAINST VIOLENCE.  THIS WAS A THEME IN 
AMBASSADOR NEGROPONTEQS PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS 
(REFTEL) AS WELL AS IN FOREIGN MINISTER ZEBARIQS 
CONVERSATION JUNE 28 WITH SECRETARY OF DEFENSE RUMSFELD. 
 
3.  (C) FOREIGN MINISTER ZEBARI GAVE MORE DETAIL IN A JUNE 
28 DISCUSSION WITH POL/MIL COUNSELOR NEUMANN.  ZEBARI 
CHARACTERIZED THE THREAT AS BEING THREE FOLD; BAQATHISTS, 
TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS.  HE SAID THE THIRD CATEGORY IS 
PROVIDING A LARGE BASE OF LOGISTICS SUPPORT TO THE 
TERRORISTS.  UP TO NOW THE COALITION HAS SUSPENDED THE 
DEATH PENALTY BUT IRAQ IS NOW SOVEREIGN; LEAVING THE 
IMPLICATION IT WILL BE RE-IMPOSED.  HE CONTINUED THAT 
IRAQIS ARE USED TO SEEING JUSTICE MORE DIRECTLY THAN THEY 
HAVE UNDER THE COALITION.  HE NOTED THAT IN MANY ARAB 
COUNTRIES IT IS NORMAL TO SEE TELEVISED CONFESSIONS, BUT 
THE CPA HAD NOT ALLOWED THIS.  ZEBARI ASSURED NEUMANN THAT 
REASONABLE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL NORMS WOULD CONTINUE TO 
PREVAIL WITH TRIALS AND OBSERVANCE OF LAWS.  HOWEVER, HE 
LEFT LITTLE DOUBT THAT WE SHOULD EXPECT TOUGHER MEASURES. 
 
4.  (C) WE ARE HEARING SOME TALK OF THE PRIME MINISTER 
IMPOSING A STATE OF EMERGENCY.  HIS OFFICE SEEMS TO BE 
RESEARCHING THIS WITH LAWYERS TO INSURE THAT IT IS 
CONSISTENT WITH NORMALLY ACCEPTED LEGAL PRINCIPLES.  BEFORE 
THE END OF CPA, ALLAWI WAS BRIEFED BY CPA LEGAL ON WHAT HE 
COULD AND COULD NOT DO IN THIS REGARD IN VIEW OF THE TAL 
AND OPERATIVE IRAQI LAW.  THE BOTTOM LINE POINT MADE TO HIM 
WAS THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO FOLLOW DUE PROCESS STRICTLY, HAVE 
VALID JUSTIFICATION, AND FOR MOST ACTIONS HAVE TO PASS A 
LAW Q- NOT EASY CONSIDERING THE CONDITIONS THE IIG MUST 
OPERATE UNDER. 
 
5. (C) COMMENT.  THE IIG IS FIGHTING FOR ITS LIFE, 
LITERALLY IN THE CASE OF SECURITY FORCES AND OFFICIALS. 
THESE CONVERSATIONS HAVE EXPLICITLY STATED THAT CHANGES 
WOULD BE CONSISTENT WITH ACCEPTED LEGAL NORMS.  WE HAVE NOT 
SIGNALED ANY DISAPPROVAL ALTHOUGH WE HAVE POINTEDLY ASKED 
ABOUT LEGAL NORMS AND RECEIVED THE ASSURANCES NOTED ABOVE. 
THE IIG KNOWS THAT IT HAS TO CONSULT WITH US ON 
CONSTRUCTING A STATE OF EMERGENCY LAW SINCE ITS ENFORCEMENT 
COULD INVOLVE COALITION FORCES.  AN EMERGENCY LAW USED TO 
STIFLE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OBVIOUSLY WOULD NOT BE 
HELPFUL.  AN EMERGENCY LAW THAT RESTORES PUBLIC CONFIDENCE 
ON SECURITY WHILE ALSO ALLOWING FREE POLITICAL DEBATE AND 
COMPETITION WOULD BE A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT.  A SEPARATE 
PROBLEM MAY BE TO EXPLAIN TO IRAQI SECURITY FORCES THAT 
BEING SOVEREIGN DOESNQT MEAN THEY CAN BEAT PRISONERS.  U.S. 
MILITARY PERSONNEL HAVE ALREADY INTERVENED TO STOP ONE 
SMALLISH INCIDENT BUT WE THINK OTHERS WILL BE LIKELY. 
ORDERS TO COALITION FORCES NOT TO ALLOW SUCH ACTIONS ARE 
CLEAR.  END COMMENT. 
 
 
    NEGROPONTE 

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