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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KIRKUK145 2006-08-22 07:50:00 CONFIDENTIAL REO Kirkuk
Cable title:  

(C) KRG MINISTER OF JUSTICE ON REGIONAL AUTHORITY

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PINR PINS PNAT PREF PREL PTER KDEM IZ 
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VZCZCXRO7077
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL
DE RUEHKUK #0145/01 2340750
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 220750Z AUG 06
FM REO KIRKUK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0722
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0684
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHKUK/REO KIRKUK 0750
					  					
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIRKUK 000145

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

BAGHDAD FOR POL, POLMIL, NCT, IRMO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/21/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PINS PNAT PREF PREL PTER KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: (C) KRG MINISTER OF JUSTICE ON REGIONAL AUTHORITY

REF: KIRKUK 00000135

KIRKUK 00000145 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Jim Bigus, PRT Leader, POL, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



(C) INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY: Minister of Justice for the KRG,
Azad Mullah Affandi, told IPAO on August 8 that in cases of
different rulings between the KRG and the federal government,
the federal Cassation (Supreme) Court would have no authority
over the KRG Court of Cassation on issues of KRG concern, such
as oil, but that this would be determined when the issue arose.
The KRG President appointed judges at all court levels. The
Ministry of Justice would maintain its separation from the
judiciary branches in order to prevent past abuses from the
Saddam regime. The role of Sharia would be limited to family
and personal law, and these trials would have separate courts.
Affandi would be the acting Minister of Justice until the KRG
Prime Minister officially announced the two KRG Justice
Ministries joined. END INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY.



(C) FEDERAL SUPREME COURT CANNOT OVERRIDE KRG COURT


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) KRG Minister of Justice, Azad Izaddin Mullah Affandi,
told IPAO on August 8 that President Barzani had accelerated the
merger of the two justice systems and that this had been
finalized on July 28, 2006. Afandi claimed the federal
Cassation (Supreme) Court would not have authority over the KRG
Court of Cassation on issues of concern to the KRG, such as oil,
but that this issue would be addressed when it arose. For
instance, he said, the federal courts could not remove a case
from a county court located in the KRG and transfer it to
Baghdad. He claimed this was due to past abuses, and said that
judicial responsibility for cases would be determined
geographically. As an example, Afandi cited the case of an
Anbar business man suing a business man from the KRG. The
location of this trial, he claimed, would depend on where the
problem occurred; the geographic origin and subject of the
dispute would determine the location for trial.

(C) KRG PRESIDENT APPOINTS JUDGES AT ALL LEVELS


--------------------------

--



3. (C) Afandi said the President of the KRG had sole authority
to appoint judges at the County, Appellate, and Cassation levels
in the Kurdistan region. The role of the Justice Minstry in
this procedure, Afandi claimed, was to select prospective
individuals for nomination as judges and forward this list of
names to the Judiciary Council, headed by the Appeals Court.
The Justice Ministry had no formal role after that point. From
there, those selected took a written and oral exam to determine
their qualifications. Only at that point were nominees
recommended to the President who could decide whether or not to
select appointments from this list. Afandi claimed according to
law appointed judges could not belong to either of the two main
parties, but that because of their past, most had party links.
Afandi said that separating the Justice Ministry from the
judiciary to avoid direct links with the judges was a legacy
from the Coalition Provisional Authority and that he agreed with
maintaining this system.

(C) ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE OF KRG COURTS


--------------------------





4. (C) Since the merger, a new Judiciary Law was submitted to
the KNA that established the organization of the courts. He
said now there was one KRG Cassation Court where formerly there
were two, with a minimum of 6 judges, "although there could be
more," with two commissions, one in charge of reviewing appeals,
the other "supreme commission" presided by the head of the
Cassation Court. The Appellate Court had a minimum of 7 judges,
but currently had 15, based in two courts located in Erbil and
Sulaymaniyah. The Erbil Appellate Court also had jurisdiction
over Dahuk; the Sulaymanyah Appellate Court was still called
"Kirkuk Appeals Court" due to the fact that it formerly also
covered Kirkuk but now "actively covered" Sulaymaniyah. (Note:
Post learned on July 24 that Asayish were transferring suspected
prisoners from Kirkuk to Sulaymaniyah for trial (Reftel. Kirkuk
00000135). End note.) There were 3 County Courts in Erbil, 2
in Dahuk, and 2 in Sulaymaniyah; Affandi said that all districts
and most sub-districts also had a court.

(C) SHARIA LIMITED TO FAMILY LAW


--------------------------





5. (C) Afandi said the role of sharia in the KRG justice system
would be limited to family and personal law, which was based on

KIRKUK 00000145 002.2 OF 002


local custom. He said family law courts were separate from the
justice system courts, but that county court judges tried these
cases and were subject to the same Justice Ministry regulations,
such as a minimum of 10 years' work experience as a judge. This
last regulation, he claimed, was to check possible legal abuses
that might develop in family and personal law from Muslim legal
jurists who had not received the proper formal training.

(C) BIOGRAPHIC NOTES


--------------------------





6. (C) Azad Izaddin Mullah Affandi: Acting Minister for
Justice in the unified KRG; appointed "Minster of State for
Justice" as part of the merger agreement on May 7, 2006; born in
Erbil, 1949; was in the previous KRG-Erbil cabinet as Minister
for Agriculture from 2004 to 2006.

(U) COMMENT


--------------------------





7. (C) Azad Mullah Affandi is acting as the Minister for
Justice until the KRG Prime Minister, Nechrivan Barzani (KDP),
issues a declaration that the two ministries are officially
joined, which he has not even though the ministries were joined
on July 28. As part of the unification agreement, Faruq Jamil
Sadiq, from the PUK KRG-Sulaymaniyah, will become the official
Minister of Justice. The Ministry of Justice was one of the
four most sensitive cabinet posts under discussion during the
merger talks, the others being Ministry of Interior, Ministry of
Peshmerga Affairs, and Ministry of Finance. The hard line on
KRG judicial authority over federal courts may or may not change
once the new Minister is appointed, depending on the new
Minister's position on such issues. Post is working to meet
with the PUK Minister of Justice to ascertain his position on
this subject. The current position of the Justice Ministry that
all trials involving issues of KRG concern be tried in KRG
courts, and that the KRG Court of Cassation overruled the
federal courts, likely will cause endless disputes over
conflicting jurisdiction claims, and lead other regions to
demand the same rights for their own court systems.
JBIGUS