Establishing A Rule Of Law In Iraq


In: All News   Posted 05/20/2003
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WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to highlight the immediate need for security in Iraq, and to ensure that the rebuilding effort include three key components: security, the rule of law, and a strong and independent judicial system.“In order for Iraq to grow and blossom from the rubble, it requires security; it requires order; it requires the rule of law,” Cornyn said. “No system of justice can survive in the absence of law and order. And there can be no democratic Iraqi state as long as lawlessness reigns.” Cornyn, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, pointed out that there are clear differences between America, where government from its inception existed to preserve and protect freedom, and Iraq, where government until recently existed to limit freedom and serve as the instrument of oppression. “Iraq’s government must undergo a fundamental change,” he said, “and a constitution that guarantees basic human rights will go a long way towards changing it.” the process of rebuilding Iraq’s judicial system, currently in disarray after decades of corruption and tyranny, will be difficult and slow, Cornyn said. But it is crucial to the redevelopment of a free, prosperous and peaceful nation.“The rule of law will facilitate prosperity that will improve the quality of life for all Iraqis,” he said. “There is great promise in a nation where more than 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25, and more than 40 percent under the age of 14. All they have known is brutal dictatorship, fear and poverty. Soon, they will know freedom, security and economic success.” Cornyn concluded that with a foundation of legally enforced rights, Iraq will become safe for investment, growth and economic opportunity. Iraqis will at long last be able to start businesses, and grow commerce in their interest—not Saddam Hussein’s. But such growth is only possible as a nation of law and order, secure in its borders, and with the liberty that is now available to them.Floor statement follows - = = = = = = Floor statement of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn Tuesday, May 20, 2003I rise today to say a few words about the rebuilding of Iraq, and equally important, the creation of a democratic Iraq.Iraq is situated in the very cradle of civilization. It has an ancient and colorful history, and although it is easy to overlook now, Baghdad itself was once viewed as a center of learning and cultural activity – until it was hijacked by the fascist regime of Saddam Hussein.Today, Iraq is a hive of clan warfare, looting, and violent chaos. There are competing political groups, armed criminal gangs, and street thugs. The Iraqi people are free of Saddam, but they are not yet free of fear.The situation in Iraq is complex, delicate, and decidedly unpleasant. But unless America and our coalition partners act quickly and decisively, self-government will be recalled years from now as only a fleeting dream. Yet there is still hope and opportunity – hope that the free people of Iraq can conquer the anarchy that controls their streets, and opportunity, to fulfill the promise of a thriving, democratic Iraq.That dream may seem far off in Baghdad today, but as John Adams once said, “People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.”Mr. President, in order for Iraq to grow and blossom from the rubble, it requires security. It requires order. It requires the rule of law.First, we must begin by ensuring the basic security of the Iraqi people.People must be able to buy food at the market without fearing armed robbers or kidnapping. They must be able to worship without fearing snipers or skirmishes. Their children must be able to go to school without hearing the sounds of gunfire.The Middle East looks like the Old West right now, and we need lawmen to restore the peace. We must eliminate the threat posed by what remains of the Baathist party, and common criminals who control the streets and highways. We must end the looting, and restore the property rights of the Iraqi people. We cannot construct the foundation of a peaceful and just society when there is still no security in Iraq.Dr. Karim Hassan, director general of Iraq's electricity commission, put it this way: “Give me security, and I'll give you electricity.”The brave men and women of the armed services have done heroic work in Iraq. I know I speak for the people of my State of Texas, and for all Americans, when I give thanks that the operation in Iraq has recently reached such a swift end, with so few coalition lives lost. But it would be a grave mistake to burden our military alone with the job of ensuring the security of the Iraqi people.After security is restored, a functioning legal system must be established. There is the immediate problem of establishing a police force. Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the police were nothing more than shock troops bent on fulfilling the dictator’s tyrannical bidding. Now, they must act to protect and defend the people they formerly dominated and abused. The police are no longer the law, violently expressed – they must now enforce and be held accountable to the law.No system of justice can survive long in the absence of law and order. And there can be no democratic Iraqi state as long as lawlessness reigns.Second, we must help the Iraqi people forge a nation governed by laws, not men.There are multiple proposals being considered for the Iraqi constitution. While Iraq is clearly in a state of transition, it also has a rich and ancient legal history. These traditions should be the foundation for the laws of this reborn nation, the constitution for a reborn Iraq. We should not kid ourselves that we will see a mirror image of Jeffersonian America circa 1787. The Iraqis will build on their own historical traditions, a history that stretches all the way back to the Code of Hammurabi.Despite our relatively short history, America has one of the longest uninterrupted political traditions of any nation in the world. The late Allan Bloom once pointed out that what sets America apart is the unambiguous nature of that tradition: “[I]t’s meaning is articulated in simple, rational speech, that is immediately comprehensible and powerfully persuasive to all normal human beings. America tells one story: the unbroken, ineluctable progress of freedom and equality.”There are clear differences between America, where government from its inception existed to preserve and protect freedom, and Iraq, where government until recently existed to limit freedom and serve as the instrument of oppression. Iraq’s government must undergo a fundamental change, and a constitution that guarantees basic human rights will go a long way towards changing it. The constitution of Iraq must, like the constitution of America, tell one story.The Japanese constitution of 1947 is one example that can show the way. Following World War II, Japan’s new constitution placed sovereign authority with the people and their representatives, in place of the longstanding authoritarian system under rule of the emperor. It renounced war as a sovereign right, and required that the country maintain armed forces for purposes of defense and police functions alone, not for purposes of aggression. If there is to be a reasonable chance of success for this national democratic experiment, similar measures must be included in the new Iraqi constitution.At the inception of this c