Having heard Lord Darzi explain on Desert Island Discs about his Armenian Christian / Jewish education in prosperous middle class secular Iraq, it may appear churlish to suggest he return to the land of his birth to set about improving his country's medical services rather than further muddy the waters of NHS reform here.
Of course one of the (many, many) tragedies facing American owned post secular Saddamite Iraq is that the educated middle classes have fled in huge numbers, leaving behind the brave, patriotic, corrupt or incompetent.
Recent reports show how the judiciary and lawyers have been affected by violent attacks on themselves,their families and their homes.
The Iraqi Lawyers Association reported in April last year that at least 210 lawyers and judges have been killed since the US-led invasion, with dozens more injured. Judge Abdul Sattar Bayrkdar, speaking for the Judicial Council said in August 2007 that 31 Iraqi judges have been assassinated since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.
“Cases of adultery, honour killings, claims on property, children’s custody and divorces have led to the deaths of many Iraqi lawyers as differences of sects and their [different] religious laws make up a big part of the prosecution or defence,” Safa’a Farouk, a lawyer and spokesman for the ILA, said.
“There are hundreds of lawyers who are being threatened and who have been asked to abandon their cases. The hundreds who have left the country have left a huge gap in the judicial system in Iraq,”
“It is a very serious situation. If you win the case, you will be targeted by the other side but if you lose, your client will be the one who will kill you. Nowadays, clients usually look for lawyers from their own ethnic group or sect to help win their cases.”
The Judiciary have been targeted as well and a massive and apparently co-ordinated attack was made on five Iraqi appeals court judges yesterday.
The five judges - Ali al-Alaq, Suleiman Abdullah, Ghanim Janab, Alaa al-Timimi, and Hassan Fouad - are all members of the al-Rasafa Court of Appeal in eastern Baghdad. While all five were unharmed in the separate attacks, the wife of Ali al-Alaq and the wife and son of Suleiman Abdullah were wounded by roadside IED's, and the judges' vehicles and property sustained damages in the blasts. An Iraqi judge told Voices of Iraq that the attacks involved roadside bombs targeting the judges as they commuted to work .
Judge Kamil Abdul-Majid al-Shuweili, the president of the Rasafa Court of Appeals, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on Thursday while on his way home in eastern Baghdad.
Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, citing the data of the health and interior ministries, said that 21 judges were killed in attacks between the year 2004 and 2006.
In January, Iraqi federal court of appeal judge and Supreme Judicial Council member Amir Jawdat al- Naeib was also assassinated by gunmen in the capital. The Judicial Council said in
Many key Iraqi judges and their families now live in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad or in the so-called Rule of Law complex , a secure compound in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Rusafa where they are supposedly safe from outside threats .
Col. Mark Martins,the staff judge advocate for General Petraeus’s military command in Iraq, said 12 Iraqi judges and four police investigators were now in the complex with their families and 26 more investigators will be graduating this week.
The hope is that a network of legal complexes will be established in other parts late 2007 / spring 2008.
The Rusafa complex, across the Tigris River to the east of the government Green Zone in central Baghdad, is still in its early days (see pic mid 2007). The court began hearing cases in June 2007. (NYT)
The United States provides criminal investigators, lawyers and a paralegal staff to train the Iraqis to run the complex, which also includes accommodations for witnesses, investigators, the Baghdad Police College and an expanding number of detainees. The 55-member American team includes Justice Department and military personnel as well as contractors, and there were in mid 2007 only four Iraqi investigators.
"No one is saying the rule of law prevails across Iraq and this is only a small step," said Col. Mark Martins, which must cheer them up no end.
The Rusafa prison’s capacity, which started at 2,500, was expected to expand by more than 5,000 by the end of the summer 2007. The main detention building at Rusafa is cleaner and of a higher standard than many Iraqis jails, but with 15 detainees in each cell the conditions had reached maximum capacity under international standards.
Reading the NYT report deosn't suggest the legal standards opertaing even at this base compare with what UK or US observers would accept as fair or honest. Which might explain why the judiciary and lawyers have increasingly been the targte of victims of the system and their families and associates.
It is also worth reading the posting Friday, June 20, 2008 -DOD expect detainees to "surge" in Baghdad by 25% soon. of the surging number of prisoners at Camp Cropper by Baghdad Airport.
Prisoners often cannot attend the trial but can watch it later on video.
At least 29 American soldiers died in Iraq in June, compared with 19 the previous month — the lowest monthly figure of the war. At least 546 Iraqis were killed or found dead in June in war-related violence, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press as of Sunday - a slight increase over the AP figure of 515 for May.