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Law and Order Being Restored in Iraq - 2003-05-09


Turning to law enforcement and the judicial front in Iraq, progress to report . . . Criminal courts reopened in Baghdad Thursday. As David Cohler reports, it was another step toward the re-establishment of law and order.

This may look like trouble, but in reality it's an effort to head off trouble; officers from the Los Angeles Police Department training Iraqi police officers in the techniques of crowd control. Other aspects of the training include personal and vehicular searches, spotting and arresting pickpockets, and breaking up fights. The training is also meant to reassure Iraqi citizens that law and order will replace the anarchy that followed the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime.

Another reassuring sign was Thursday's reopening of the criminal courts. Detainees were brought before magistrates and charged with theft, assault, and other petty crimes. A senior U.S. advisor to the Ministry of Justice is Clint Williamson.

CLINT WILLIAMSON, U.S. LEGAL ADVISOR
"When you talk to Iraqis today, most of them will tell you that their main concern is security and seeing a secure environment reestablished. And so for them to see the courts are open, that the courts are starting to hear criminal cases again, starting to deal with those people who were involved in acts of lawlessness, I think this is a huge step."

U.S. ground forces commander General David McKiernan said Thursday there's been progress toward re-establishing law and order, but the ultimate goal is for Iraqis to provide their own security.

LT. GEN. DAVID McKERNAN, U.S. GROUND FORCES COMMANDER
"Over time it's our intent that more and more of that is turned over to local police or security forces and not U.S. soldiers or marines doing that anywhere in Iraq."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles police officers and U.S. Marines will continue to train Iraqis to control the looting and other crime affecting large sections of the capital.

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