February 3, 2011

III. Torture of Detainees

On December 19, 2009, during one of numerous security sweeps of Mosul, Iraqi soldiers kicked open the front door of Ahmad M.'s family home, arresting the 21-year-old for alleged terrorism.[218]

For months, no one in his family knew where he was taken or if he was still alive. Ahmad said that during the worst days of his ordeal at a secret government detention facility at Muthanna Airport, he wished he wasn't alive.

"During the first eight days they tortured me daily," he told us. "[The interrogators] would put a bag on my head and start to kick my stomach and beat me all over my body. They threatened that if I didn't confess, they would bring my sisters and mother to be raped. I heard him on the cell phone giving orders to rape my sisters and mother."[219]

In one torture session, Ahmed, who was blindfolded and handcuffed, said his tormentors stripped him and ordered him to stroke another detainee's penis. Then they forced him to the floor and forced the other detainee on top of him.

"It hurt when it started to penetrate me. The guards were all laughing and saying, ‘He's very tight, let's bring some soap!' When I experienced the pain, I asked them to stop and said that I would confess. Although I confessed to the killings, I mentioned fake names since I never killed anyone. So the torture continued even after I confessed because they suspected my confession was false." He went on to say that one of the guards also forced him to have oral sex. [220]

Ahmad's story echoes that of many Iraqi detainees, who are routinely subjected to torture at facilities across the country. Following on the legacy of the judicial system under previous governments, courts continue to rely mainly on confessions, which interrogators extract with seemingly unlimited brutality. International investigators have repeatedly documented the persistence and widespread nature of torture in Iraq in recent years; little has changed in response to those reports.[221] Human Rights Watch's findings show that as of 2010, the practice remains as entrenched as ever, failing even to draw a critical response when evidence is produced by the Iraqi government itself.


Abuse and torture in detention facilities have a long history in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein, torture was commonplace. His government sanctioned the widespread use of torture, the death penalty, and extrajudicial executions as tools of political repression, both in order to eliminate real or suspected opponents and to maintain a reign of terror over the population at large.[222] The extent of the horrors of his repressive rule started to come to light after 1991, when Kurds in northern Iraq gained a measure of self-rule. In former Iraqi police stations and prisons, Kurds discovered torture chambers and execution sites where, they say, thousands of political prisoners died under torture or were shot. [223]

After 2003, serious abuses occurred in facilities run by US and British forces. And US authorities transferred thousands of Iraqi detainees to Iraqi custody despite knowing that they faced a clear risk of torture. Military cables released in October 2010 by Wikileaks, mostly authored by low-ranking US officers in the field between 2004 and 2009, indicate that US commanders frequently failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces killed, tortured, and mistreated their captives. According to the documents, US authorities investigated some abuse cases, but much of the time they either ignored the abuse or asked Iraqis to investigate and closed the file.[224]

The first pictures showing U.S. soldiers humiliating and torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison appeared in late April 2004.[225] An investigative report of U.S. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" constituting "systematic and illegal abuse of detainees" at Abu Ghraib.[226] Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and journalists have extensively documented extreme cases of torture and inhuman treatment at locations in Iraq other than Abu Ghraib.[227]

From 2003 to 2006, for example, US personnel and Iraqi detainees reported serious mistreatment of detainees by a special military and Central Intelligence Agency task force responsible for capturing or killing high-level combatants at Camp Nama. The task force regularly stripped detainees naked, subjected them to sleep deprivation and extreme cold, placed them in painful stress positions, humiliated, and beat them.[228] Human Rights Watch also documented abuse at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Tiger, near al-Qaim, in western Iraq on the border of Syria. Officials at the base held detainees, without food or water, in oppressively hot metal containers for more than 24 hours as temperatures exceeded 57 degrees Celsius. Interrogators then took the detainees for interrogations where they beat and subjected them to threats.[229]

British forces in southern Iraq also abused Iraqi detainees. In one incident, Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel worker, died while in British custody in Basra in 2003. A post-mortem examination showed that Mousa had at least 93 injuries to his body, including a broken nose and fractured ribs.[230] On December 21, 2010, the High Court in London refused an application for a full public inquiry into allegations of killings, torture, and inhuman and degrading treatment by British soldiers and interrogators in Iraq.[231]

Despite abuses meted out by US and British forces, the Coalition Provisional Authority attempted to introduce legal reforms that would have made it easier to prosecute perpetrators. The CPA suspended article 136 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which required the relevant minister to refer for prosecution cases of malfeasance committed in the course of official duties, a role usually assigned to an independent prosecutor. The persistent failure of the Minister of Interior or other relevant authorities to refer such cases for prosecution effectively blocked the pursuit of accountability for torturers. Under Iraq's constitution, all CPA laws remain valid unless specifically abrogated by new legislation. However, successive Iraqi governments, since the official end of the occupation in mid 2004, have continued to invoke article 136 to block prosecutions of alleged torture and official corruption.[232]

CPA and US government policies and have had an enormous impact on criminal justice, police, security, and counterterrorism institutions and personnel in Iraq. The CPA, under order number one ("De-Ba'athification of Iraqi Society"), fired top-ranking Ba'ath Party members from all government positions, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge on the functioning of the police force and other government institutions.

The US has been training Iraq police since December 2003.[233] Since 2008, United States Forces (with Danish Forces) have sponsored a "human rights and ethics train-the-trainer" course in Baghdad. Graduates are supposed to pass on the training to police departments throughout the country.[234] With the December 2011 deadline for all American troops to leave the country quickly approaching, the US is shifting its entire program for Iraqi police training from the Defense Department back to the State Department, starting in October 2011.

Secret Facility at Muthanna Airport

Starting in September 2009, security forces kept some 430 Iraqi men hidden away at a secret facility in the old Muthanna airport in West Baghdad, run by the Baghdad Operations Command, one of several regional security commands set up by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that answer directly to his office.

After the Human Rights Ministry discovered the Muthanna facility' s existence, inspected it in March 2010, and reported the abuses to the prime minister, authorities transferred or released all the men, moving 300 of them to Al Rusafa prison. Until then, the detainees had no access to their families or lawyers. They did not even receive a case number, never mind formal charges. An investigative judge questioned many of them individually in a room just down the hall from one of the torture chambers.

The Iraqi Army had detained them between September and December 2009 during sweeps in and around Mosul, a stronghold of Sunni armed groups, accusing the men of aiding and abetting terrorism and forcing them to sign confessions. Even after they confessed, many told us, torture persisted.

As soon as Human Rights Watch entered the wing of the Al Rusafa facility housing these detainees, dozens of them pressed against the bars of 19 overcrowded cage-like cells and began re-enacting the abuses that interrogators at Muthanna had subjected them to. They lifted their shirts and pant legs to reveal bruising, scabs, and disfigurements. Each of the 42 inmates we interviewed there in April wanted to share his story, and each story was horrifically like the ones before.

The men's stories were credible and consistent. They described in detail how their torturers kicked, whipped, and beat them, asphyxiated them, subjected them to electric shocks, burned them with cigarettes, and pulled out their fingernails and teeth. The prisoners said that interrogators sodomized some detainees with sticks and pistol barrels. Some young men said they had been forced to perform oral sex on interrogators, and guards and that interrogators forced detainees to molest one another. If the detainees still refused to confess, interrogators would threaten to rape the women and girls in their families.

Most of the 300 displayed fresh scars and injuries they said were a result of routine and systematic torture they had experienced at the hands of interrogators at Muthanna. Huge scabs on their legs matched their accounts of being suspended upside down with their lower legs trapped between bars. Deep welts on their backs were consistent with cable whipping.

The detainees lacked sufficient medical and psychological treatment for the torture they endured. One 24-year-old detainee, who displayed severe leg injuries, said his front teeth had been smashed during one of his interrogation sessions in the secret prison. After he had been arrested on September 30, 2009, in Mosul, an interrogator told him that they would rape his mother and sister if he did not confess. He confided that he had been repeatedly sodomized with a stick and a pistol, and now frequently wet his bed and had trouble sleeping. [235]

Another detainee, a pediatrician, described what had happened after he saw one of his cellmates dragged out for a torture session on January 18, 2010. When they brought the man back to the cell, the pediatrician noticed swelling above his cellmate's liver and suspected internal bleeding. He told the guards that the man needed immediate medical attention. The guards took the tortured man out but returned him an hour later saying that he was fine. The man died in the cell an hour later.[236]

In many cases, torture sessions lasted for hours. "The guards would come into our cell and grab three or four detainees at a time," said one detainee. "They would walk us to the interrogation room to begin the abuse. They would beat us for hours and so badly that we could not stand up so they would have to drag us back to our cells. They would let us recover for three days before the cycle of torture began anew."[237]

Although torture was mainly used to elicit confessions, in some cases it also served as punishment. One detainee told us that after he spoke to an inspection team from the Human Rights Ministry in March, guards beat him severely. He was captured along with 33 others in Mosul on the night of September 17, 2009, he said. Interrogators would tie his arms behind his back and blindfold him before hanging him upside down to administer a beating. "They would suffocate me with a bag until I passed out and would wake me with an electric shock to my genitals."[238]

At Muthanna, a detainee's age, nationality, or medical condition were no impediments to the harsh treatment interrogators meted out. On December 7, security forces arrested a former general in the Iraqi army, now a British citizen who is confined to a wheelchair (unrelated to the arrest and abuse), after he returned to Mosul from London to find his detained son. The general's jailers refused him medicine for his diabetes and high blood pressure. "I was beaten up severely, especially on my head," he told us. "They broke one of my teeth during the beatings ... They applied electricity to my penis and sodomized me with a stick. I was forced to sign a confession that they wouldn't let me read."[239]

Security forces arrested one detainee with his brother in Mosul on December 16. He described how his interrogators strung him upside down and severely beat him with his eyes blindfolded and his hands tied behind his back. He suffered broken ribs from the beatings and urinated blood for days. The interrogators threatened to rape his wife if he did not confess. One time he was stripped naked and told to penetrate another naked inmate lying on the floor or otherwise be raped by two male guards.

In another case, the Iraqi army arrested a 59-year-old father and his 29-year-old son at their house in Mosul on September 30. Both described sessions in which interrogators hung them upside down and beat them. During one session, an interrogator stripped the father naked in front of his son. The interrogator told the son they if he did not confess they would rape his father. The father was told that if he did not confess they would kill his son. The son said that the guards subsequently sodomized him with a broomstick.

The torture uncovered at Muthanna was extraordinary only in its severe, routine, and systematic nature. Across Iraq, lawyers, human rights advocates, and former detainees told us that torture and ill-treatment remained a serious problem in many Iraqi detention facilities and jails. A Ministry of Human Rights prisons report indicated that in 2009 the ministry documented 574 separate allegations of torture in Iraqi facilities—primarily in Ministry of Interior facilities—as well as four suspicious deaths.[240]

"Prisons are one of the great tragedies of modern Iraq and are nothing more than factories of torture and mistreatment. Things are getting worse and we are now back to Saddam's time. But now we are more artistic in how we do it," a defense lawyer and leader of a jurist association in Basra told Human Rights Watch.[241] "Iraqi guards are creative artists in how they torture … they don't just limit themselves to physical torture but embrace mental torture as well. Prisoners are isolated for such long periods so long that they lose sense of time, and no lawyer is able to help them no matter what."

Although all the detainees at Muthanna were Sunni Arabs, it appears that Iraqi security forces targeted them not for their religious denomination but because the men were presumed to affiliated with militia groups in Mosul, which remains one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. Former Shia detainees from Basra and Sadr City told us they were tortured on suspicion of belonging to the Jaish al-Mahdi, led by Muqtada al-Sadr. Human Rights Watch also interviewed activists from minority groups tortured by the Kurdistan Regional Government security forces — they said this owed not to their minority status but because they challenged KRG rule in the disputed areas . In Iraq, torture by government security forces appears to be more a product of a flawed criminal justice system than a tool of ethnic repression.

Reliance on Confessions

Torture and other forms of abuse carried out in Iraqi detention facilities to obtain confessions have been well-documented since 2004.[242] Investigative hearings and trials in Iraq rely heavily on confessions and the testimony of witnesses and secret informants rather than physical evidence.[243] Iraqi human rights advocates we interviewed said they have serious concerns about fairness at court proceedings, given how prevalent abuse is in detention facilities and the evidentiary weight the justice system gives to confessions as well as information from secret informants.

A criminal defense lawyer in Baghdad told Human Rights Watch that most of the 25 clients she represented over the last year said they signed confessions in order to stop their torture.[244] "Most of my clients have been exposed to torture," she said. "Most of the times, they can't speak the details because they are too embarrassed about what happened to them. The interrogators use lots of cultural taboos and dirty methods to get what they want."

A former detainee at another facility told us he was arrested in January 2009 at his parents' house in Sadr City on suspicion of forging documents for the Jaish al-Mahdi.[245] Although the incident happened more than a year ago, he showed us a huge welt on his back from blows he said he received from a rifle butt during this detention. He said that for four days security forces held him in an army detention facility with his hands tied behind his back; he was blindfolded the entire time with the exception of when he went to the bathroom. If he had to relieve himself outside of the allotted times, the guard instructed him to urinate in his clothes. Interrogators would lay him face down on the ground, lift his feet, and beat the soles with a wooden stick. They also kicked and punched him all over his body, including his head. "The blindfold they wrapped around my head was a blessing in disguise because it was a thick fabric and absorbed some of the force from the blows," he said[246]

On other occasions, he said, interrogators gave him electric shocks or drenched him with freezing water after they stripped him and dragged him outside, during winter. Interrogators questioned him about his "pious" beard, which he said he had grown to mourn the passing of an uncle. "They burned it with a lighter," he said. [247]

He said that interrogators forced his fingerprint on a confession that he did not read. In an adjacent cell, he could hear the screams of his detained nephew. After the abuse, the nephew falsely confessed that his uncle had kidnapped and killed numerous Iraqi security officials and Sunni Arabs. The judge did not believe the confessions, and released the uncle.[248]

This detainee, the uncle, said his family paid officials thousands of dollars as a bribe, not for his release but simply to have his case expedited. Detainees with lesser means may spend years in custody without charge or trial. "The way to push forward cases is to bribe officials," said a prisoners' advocate in Baghdad who volunteers at an NGO hotline for detainees. "Those who have nothing find their case stuck."[249]

According to the Ministry of Human Rights, more than 30,000 detainees and prisoners remain in the custody of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, or Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.[250] Government-run detention facilities struggle to accommodate the large number of detainees, and serious delays in the judicial review of detention has exacerbated overcrowding.

Government Inaction and Denials

To date, the government's response to torture allegations has been dismal. Although there are indications that authorities took some disciplinary action, including court referrals, against security forces accused of abuse and undertook judicial follow-up in some torture cases, there is little indication that the government has taken enough serious measures to put an end to the practice.[251]

Despite the overwhelming evidence, including from its own Human Rights Ministry, that torture was routine and systematic at Muthanna, officials have not thoroughly investigated or prosecuted the officials responsible.[252] Prime Minister al-Maliki characterized the torture accounts at Muthanna as "lies" and "a smear campaign."[253] He told state-run Al-Iraqiyya television that the detainees inflicted the scars on themselves "by rubbing matches on some of their body parts."[254] Instead of ordering an independent inquiry, the prime minister suspended the work of the Ministry of Human Rights' prison inspection team, who first uncovered the abuse.

The government, by failing to launch a proper investigation in the face of such egregious abuses, and by reprimanding its own investigators who uncovered abuse, only bolsters impunity and sends a message to torturers that they are above the law.

International Standards Prohibiting Torture

The Government of Iraq has legal obligations under international human rights treaty law and customary law that govern the treatment of detainees. The prohibition against torture and other mistreatment is a longstanding and fundamental norm of customary international law.[255]

Iraq is bound by the treaty obligations of previous Iraqi governments.[256] Most notable among these are those laid out by the ICCPR, which requires that detainees be treated with respect for their "inherent dignity,"[257] and mandates that detainees shall "not be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."[258]

Similar prohibitions are found in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture), which Iraq is in the final process of ratifying,[259] and other treaties.[260] The Convention against Torture specifically prohibits using as evidence in any proceeding "any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture."[261]

National Standards Prohibiting Torture

The Constitution, under Article 37 (c), prohibits "all forms of psychological and physical torture and inhumane treatment." Article 37 also states, "Any confession made under force, threat, or torture shall not be relied on, and the victim shall have the right to seek compensation for material and moral damages incurred in accordance with the law."

Similar to the constitution, Iraq's Criminal Procedure Code bans the use of "any illegal methods to influence the accused and extract a confession."[262] It also provides for criminal liability for torture or other instances of abuse in custody. Article 333 of the Penal Code criminalizes the actions of any public official or agent who tortures or orders the torture of a person accused of a crime, witness, or informant in order to compel a confession.[263]

Nevertheless, as noted above, Article 136(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code contains a major legal obstacle to prosecuting government officials who have engaged in or authorized abuse of detainees.[264] This article requires that where the alleged offenses took place in the course of or arising from official duty, the "responsible minister" (for example, the interior minister in cases involving police) must permit referral of the accused official for trial.[265] The article continues to be invoked to block prosecutions, despite having been suspended by CPA head L. Paul Bremer in January 2004 when he established the integrity commission as an independent agency to carry out corruption investigations.[266]

[218] Human Rights Watch interview with Ahmed M. (not his real name), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[219] Ibid.

[220] Ibid.

[221][221]See UNAMI, "Human Rights Report, 1 July-31 December 2009;" and Human Rights Watch, The New Iraq? Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody, vol. 17, no. 1(E), January 2005, http://hrw.org/reports/2005/iraq0105/.

[222]Human Rights Watch, Iraq: The Death Penalty, Executions, and ‘Prison Cleansing,' March 2003, http://www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/mena/iraq031103.htm.

[223]Human Rights Watch, Unquiet Graves: The Search for the Disappeared in Iraqi Kurdistan, February 1, 1992, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/1992/02/01/unquiet-graves (accessed September 11, 2010).

[224]"Iraq: Wikileaks Documents Describe Torture of Detainees," Human Rights Watch news release, October 23, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/24/iraq-wikileaks-documents-describe-torture-detainees.

[225] For a more detailed analysis of abuses at US detention facilities, see: Human Rights Watch, Getting Away with Torture?: Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees, Vol. 7, no. 1(G), April 2005, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2005/04/23/getting-away-torture-0; Human Rights Watch, The Road to Abu Ghraib, June 2004, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2004/06/08/road-abu-ghraib, and Human Rights Watch, No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers' Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq, Volume 18, No. 3(G), July 2006, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2006/07/22/no-blood-no-foul.

[226]Investigative report on alleged abuses at US military prisons in Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, Iraq, by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, "Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade." Taguba noted the following incidents of criminal abuse inflicted on several detainees:

- Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

- Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;

- Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

- Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

- Arranging naked detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

- Positioning a naked detainee on a box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes and penis to simulate electric torture;

- Writing "I am a Rapist" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year-old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;

- Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose with him for a picture;

- A male military police guard having sex with a female detainee;

- Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

- Threatening detainees with a loaded 9-mm pistol;

- Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

- Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

- Threatening male detainees with rape;

- Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;

- Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick;

- Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;

- Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

- Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear; and

- Taking pictures of dead Iraqi detainees.

[227] HRW, Getting away with Torture, p. 8.

[228]Through most of 2003 and 2004, the task force maintained a detention and interrogation facility within Camp Nama, at the Baghdad International Airport. The camp was off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as ordinary military personnel. The task force moved to another location near Balad in the summer of 2004. Human Rights Watch, No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers' Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq.


[230]In March 2008, Des Browne, then the British Defence Secretary, acknowledged a serious violation of Article 2 and Article 3 (the right to life and freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights had taken place. In July 2008 the Ministry of Defence agreed to pay £2.83-million ($4.5-million) in compensation to the family of Mousa and nine other men. The case also led to rare prosecutions of British soldiers in connection with ill-treatment. However only one person, Corporal Donald Payne, was convicted, after pleading guilty to the war crime of inhumane treatment, and sentenced to one-year imprisonment. The military court threw out all other charges against six other soldiers, including Payne's commanding officer. In July 2009, the United Kingdom launched a public inquiry into Mousa's death, the failure of the criminal investigation and prosecution, and the British military's treatment of Iraqi detainees, including how interrogation techniques previously banned by the UK in 1972 resurfaced in Iraq. See "Iraqis to get £3m in MoD damages," BBC, July 10, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7500204.stm (accessed November 8, 2010), and ""Iraqi eyewitnesses: Mistreatment by UK troops," BBC, November 5, 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11696329 (accessed November 8, 2010).

[231]"Iraqis lose torture claim probe bid," UKPA, December 21, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jDFcostjddDk_7H-jSu9SUqk3oHg?docId=N0258041292924540939A (accessed December 22, 2010).

[232] Constitution, art. 130. See also Walter Pincus, "There is Corruption in Iraq," Washington Post, June 25, 2007 (noting the reinstatement of the provision by prime ministers 'Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim al-Ja'afari, and its continued use under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki).

[233]Robert Perito, "Policing Iraq: Protecting Iraqis from Criminal Violence," United States Institute of Peace, June 2006, http://www.usip.org/publications/policing-iraq-protecting-iraqis-criminal-violence (accessed December 22, 2010).

[234] Twenty-one officers graduated from the course in August 2010. "Newest Iraqi Police ethics, human rights trainers graduate," United States Forces news release, August 12, 2010, http://www.usf-iraq.com/news/press-releases/newest-iraqi-police-ethics-human-rights-trainers-graduate (accessed December 22, 2010).

[235]Human Rights Watch interview with Detainee I (name withheld), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[236] Human Rights Watch interview with Detainee B (name withheld), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[237]Human Rights Watch interview with Detainee C (name withheld), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[238]Human Rights Watch interview with Detainee A (name withheld), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[239]Human Rights Watch interview with Detainee D (name withheld), Baghdad, April 26, 2010.

[240] The report documented 326 allegations of torture at MOI facilities, 152 cases at MOD facilities, 14 cases at Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) facilities, one case at MOJ facilities, and 12 in Peshmerga facilities in the Kurdistan region in 2009.

[241] Human Rights Watch interview with a defense lawyer (name withheld), Basra, April 12, 2010.

[242]See UNAMI, "Human Rights Report, 1 July-31 December 2009"; and Human Rights Watch, The New Iraq? Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody,.

[243]Human Rights Watch, The Quality of Justice: Failings of Iraq's Central Criminal Court, December 14, 2008, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/12/14/quality-justice-0 (accessed September 11, 2010).

[244]Human Rights Watch interview with a criminal defense lawyer (name withheld), Baghdad, April 3, 2010.

[245]Human Rights Watch interview with a former detainee (name withheld), April 2, 2010.





[250]UNAMI, "Human Rights Report : 1 January – 30 June, 2009,"

and Iraqi Human Rights Ministry, "Prisons and Detention Facilities of Federal Central Government," 2010.

[251] According to Iraq's submission to the 2010 Universal Periodic Review, authorities have referred to the courts 724 cases of abuse uncovered by the Ministry of Human Rights between 2007 and 2009. "National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (A) of the annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1," Government of Iraq submission to the Universal Periodic Review, January 18, 2010, A/HRC/WG.6/7/IRQ/,1http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/173/37/PDF/G0917337.pdf?OpenElement (accessed December 22).

[252]Following exposure of the secret prison, Iraqi authorities announced on April 23 that they had detained three officers of the military unit that ran the facility to interrogate them. As of October, authorities had not announced any charges. Khalid al-Ansary, "Iraq Closes Secret Prison, Arrests 3 Officers," Reuters, April 23, 2010, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE63M0W8.htm (accessed September 11, 2011).

[253] Sam Dagher, "Report Details Torture at Secret Baghdad Prison," New York Times, April 27, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/world/middleeast/28baghdad.html (accessed September 11, 2011).


[255]See, for example, Manfred Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (Kehl: NP Engel, 2nd ed., 2005), pp. 157-58.

[256] See Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, opened for signature May 23, 1969, 115 U.N.T.S. 331,

http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf (accessed September 6, 2010), section 3

(international agreements are not terminated by a change in government).

[257]ICCPR., art. 10(1).

[258]Ibid., art. 7.

[259]In June 2009, the Official Gazette published legislation that Iraq's parliament passed in 2008 to ratify the Convention. However, as of August 2010, the Iraqi government had not deposited the registration of the ratification at the secretariat of the UN.

[260]See, for example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 37(a).

[261]Convention against Torture, art. 15. The only exception is a statement against a person accused of torture as evidence that

the statement was made.

[262] Iraqi Criminal Procedure Code of 1971, article art. 127: "Mistreatment, threats, injury, enticement, promises, psychological influence or use of drugs or intoxicants are considered illegal methods."

[263] Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969 (with amendments), art. 333. Torture includes the use of force and threats of force.

[264]Iraqi Criminal Procedure Code, art. 136(b).


[266]Walter Pincus, "There is Corruption in Iraq," Washington Post, June 25, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/24/AR2007062401301.html (accessed December 22, 2010).