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Reconstructing Justice in Iraq: Promoting the Rule of Law in a Post-conflict State

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2010

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Part of the US project for Iraq following its invasion was the reconstruction of the Iraqi justice system. Many projects, both military and civil were launched in support of this goal with the intention of enhancing the rule of law. Based on seven month's experience on one such project in Iraq, the author discusses the various tensions, constraints and confusions in these reconstruction projects in the justice sector. Overall there was an absence of harmonization and coordination and these operated to the detriment of the Iraqi system. In the field of rule of law programs, aid providers generally seek to establish a western style rule oriented system similar to those prevailing in their own countries but seem unaware of how to best bring about this change. In the author's experience, this process was exemplified in Iraq. An alternative approach to justice reconstruction is suggested that would be holistic and strategic, based on local knowledge and practice, and one that incorporates both top down and bottom up knowledge.

Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2010

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