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Full Text: Iraq's New Amnesty Law
All Detainees to be Released, with Exceptions: Here's the Whole Document
03/06/2008 3:42 PM ET
Last week, Iraq's Presidential Council ratified the amnesty law that had been passed by the parliament two weeks before. The Amnesty law, one of the American "benchmarks" for Iraqi policy, has been -- and remains -- a subject of much controversy in Iraq as it concerns the fate of the tens of thousands of prisoners in Iraqi custody.

The amnesty law was grouped in a legislative compromise package that included the budget law and a law covering provincial elections. To the outrage of some who had concurred to the package of three laws, the presidential council rejected the provinces law but ratified the other two.

Below is the full text of the Iraqi amnesty law as released in Arabic by the Presidential Council and obtained and translated by IraqSlogger. Stay tuned for more full text of recent Iraqi legislation.

Law number (19) for the year 2008

The Amnesty Law

Article 1

A general amnesty applies on convicted Iraqis and on (convicted) people who were residing in Iraq, for the time remaining in sentences. They are released in compliance with a provision stated by the committee that has been formed in accordance with Article 5 of this law.

Article 2

The following (individuals) are excepted from of the provision of Article 1 of this law:

First: Those sentenced to death in accordance with the Iraqi penal law number 111 of the year 1969.

Second: People who are convicted of the following crimes:

A. The crimes provided for in Paragraph 2 of the Article 1 of the Iraqi High Criminal Court law, number 10 of the year 2005.

B. Terrorist crimes, if they caused a death or permanent disability.

C. Crimes of voluntary killing.

D. Crimes of involuntary manslaughter in which those related (to the crime) people refuse to abandon their personal rights.

E. Crimes of abducting people.

F. Crimes of theft associated with aggravating circumstances.

G. Crimes of embezzlement of state funds or despoiling of them.

H. Crimes of rape or of homosexuality.

I. Crimes of incest.

J. Crimes of counterfeiting Iraqi or foreign currency or of forging official documents.

K. Crimes (related to) drugs.

L. Crimes of trafficking in artifacts.

M. Crimes which are laid out by the Military Penal Law, number 19 of the year 2007.

Article 3

A. Conclusive cessation of the legal procedures taken against the accused people in all crimes, with the exception to the crimes that are mentioned in Paragraph 2 of Article 2 of this law, whether their cases are in investigation stage or trial stage, (as well as) the release of detainees by the decree of the committee to be formed in according with Article 5 of this law.

B. The committee which is to be formed in accordance with Article 5 of this law must release any detainees who have been held for more than six months and who have not been brought before the investigating magistrate, or (the detainees for whom) more than a year has passed since their arrest and (their case) has not been referred to the relevant court.

Article 4

If any individual who received amnesty in accordance with the provision of this commits a premeditated crime from the crimes mentioned in Article 2 of this law within five years from the date of amnesty, the penalties for the crime for which he received amnesty will be implemented, and punitive procedures will be taken against him even if the individual received amnesty while he is in a trial or in the investigating stage.

Article 5

First: The formation of a committee or more by an order from the president of the Supreme Judicial Council in each area of appeal, presided over by judge of the first class, and with the membership of three judges to be in charge of executing the provisions of this law. One of the members of the public prosecution, to be called the Chief Public Prosecutor, represents (the prosecution) before the committee.

Second: The individuals covered by the provisions of Articles 1 and 3 of this law, or their relatives, have the right to submit an application to the committee formed in accordance with Article 5 of this law to take into consideration the possibility of having the amnesty law covering their cases, and the committee is obligated to consider these requests.

Third: The committee formed in accordance with Paragraph A of this article is responsible for vetting the files of the individuals who have been covered under this law, and for issuing its decisions in accordance (with the provisions of this law), and its decisions are subject to challenge before the appeals court of the area, according to its discretion.

Article 6

The Iraqi government is committed to take the necessary measures to move the arrested people from the prisons of the Multinational Forces to the Iraqi prisons to implement the provisions of this law to their cases.

Article 7

The provisions of this law applied on crimes that occurred before its implementation.

Article 8

The Supreme Judicial Council to issue instructions to facilitate the executing of the provisions of this law.

Article 9

This law is to be published in the official newspaper and to be effective starting with the date of its issue.

Motives and reasons

For the purpose of allowing the opportunity, to those Iraqis or those residing in Iraq, who strayed to commit certain crimes, to return to the right, and to join the social life, and (for the purpose of) spreading the spirit of forgiveness and to reform those who strayed from the straight path by granting them amnesty, to allow all the Iraqi people to build their homeland, and to set free those convicted or detained because of their committing of crimes covered by the amnesty, this law is passed.

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