Iraq: Coalition orders may break international law

The Memorandum on concerns related to legislation introduced by the Coalition Provisional Authority calls on the CPA to suspend provisions of the Iraqi penal legislation that clearly contravene international law, and replace those by new legislation only if their suspension would create a legislative gap.

The report also reveals:

  • restrictions on the freedom of expression and employment, particularly restricting employment of former Ba'ath party members in top levels of civil service and restricting the right to make statements supporting the Ba'ath party or purporting to be on their behalf.
  • restrictions on movement: the CPA has lifted restrictions on travel for academic purposes but other illegal restrictions on movement of professionals such as doctors, lawyers and judges have remained in place.
  • changes to the law put in place by the CPA are issued in English, but not in Arabic until much later ? in some instances up to four months later. This can severely restrict public and lawyers' access to information about the laws governing them. Article 65 of the 4th Geneva Convention outlaws practice of bringing laws into force before publication in the language of the occupied country.

Amnesty International is calling on the CPA to review its orders and regulations to ensure that they are fully consistent with the CPA's obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

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