Military Justice System
Both political offenders and ordinary criminal offenders in the armed forces were tried in the military courts, but Iraq's military courts had no jurisdiction over civilians accused of security-related crimes. Such cases were reviewed by revolutionary courts. Military tribunals were held in camera and were often summary in nature. Although little information was available in early 1988, observers believed that the system of military justice differed little from the system in operation at the time of the 1968 Baath Revolution. At that time a permanent military court of at least five members was usually established at each division headquarters and wherever large concentrations of nondivision troops were stationed. In addition, emergency military courts could be set up in combat areas to expedite the trial of offenders there. Such courts usually consisted of three members, a president with the rank of lieutenant colonel and two members with the rank of major or above.
The highest court was the Military Court of Cassation, which sat in Baghdad. It was appointed by the minister of defense and was composed of a president with the rank of brigadier general or above and two members with the rank of colonel or above. Appeals from the sentences of lower military courts were heard in the Military Court of Cassation; it also conducted trials of the first instance of senior officers.
A number of changes were introduced into the Penal Code of the Popular Army since 1980. Law No. 32 of 1982, for example, made several offenses by service personnel punishable by death. In its 1985 report, Amnesty International noted that RCC Resolution No. 1370 reaffirmed the death penalty for various offenses. These included fleeing or defaulting from military service, conspiring against the state, espionage, and joining the Ad Dawah al Islamiyah (the Islamic Call), commonly referred to as Ad Dawah.
|Country Studies main page | Iraq Country Studies main page|