Capacity Building of Iraqi Judges

UNITAD has worked to organize in-depth training courses on International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law to support capacity building efforts of Iraqi judges. This capacity building comes as an essential step towards supporting the Iraqi Judiciary to prosecute Da’esh/ISIL perpetrators for their international crimes; war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, once an appropriate legal framework is adopted in Iraq. In-depth knowledge of these legal fields is vital given the nature of ISIL’s crimes in Iraq, their scope and magnitude.

The capacity building efforts involved providing Iraqi judges with basic and advanced courses in International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law. The courses involved lectures that cover key topics such as the classification of hostilities and persons; the definition of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity; modes of participating in international crimes; superior responsibility; fair trial rights under international law; and Islamic law of war, Islamic criminal law, direct participation in hostilities; targeting individuals; targeting objects; detention in armed conflict; armed conflict and international human rights law; Implementation of international humanitarian law; terrorism as an international crime; defenses to international crimes; national prosecution of international crimes; and sentencing in international practice.

More about the courses and the content of the lectures can be found on the dedicated page here:– click here.

In its first phase, these virtual courses brought together judges from different Iraqi courts through a five-month online program and was developed in cooperation with the Australian National University. For these courses, UNITAD assembled a group of international lecturers who are eminent, Arab-speaking experts, allowing for interactive discussion during each lecture session.  So far, UNITAD has trained 28 members of the Iraqi judiciary through its online courses.

In the second phase of this capacity building initiative, UNITAD partnered with the International Nuremberg Principles Academy in November 2022 to organize an advanced in-person training course on International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law for 19 members of the Iraqi Judiciary, including judges from KRG, in Nuremberg, Germany. This training aimed to enhance the practical investigative and prosecutorial skills of Iraqi Judges who work on Da’esh/ISIL international crimes in Iraq. The instructors and lecturers for this one-week course were a range of internationally renowned academics, legal experts and practitioners. The training enabled Iraqi judges to study and analyze relevant international and national cases from countries that have adopted universal jurisdiction in prosecuting international crimes. Such knowledge is key for Iraqi judges to initiate and conduct proceedings before Iraqi courts, with the highest level of professionalism, and in conformity with international standards and due process.