Iraqi Judiciary Opens Hawija Investigation

By Ali Abel Sadah for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Nearly a month following the bloody events that took place in the town of Hawija, the Iraqi judiciary has decided to investigate the circumstances surrounding the events, just as it has adopted the Iraqi Council of Representatives’ report on the circumstances of the Iraqi army’s attack on the protest square in the city.

The Iraqi general prosecution, which is a body of the Iraqi judicial authority, announced on May 13, 2013, the formation of an independent inquiry commission to look into the events of Hawija, and the transfer of the case to the Kirkuk province.

The prosecution’s decision means that the investigation will not occur in the capital, Baghdad, but rather in the province to which Hawija administratively belongs.

Members of the special forces stormed the protest square in Hawija on April 23, 2013, leaving at least 163 protesters dead and wounded. Hundreds of others were either arrested or went missing. The Defense Ministry justified the attack on the protest square by saying that it happened after protesters failed to obey orders to leave the square, and after gunmen in the square opened fire.

The Iraqi general prosecution said in a statement, which Al-Monitor received via email, that, “It established an inquiry commission to examine the events of Hawija. The commission consists of three judges and a general prosecutor who will investigate this case.” It also noted that “the court of appeals in Kirkuk will serve as the commission’s headquarters.”

The general prosecution confirmed having “sent the investigation file — which was received from the House of Representatives — to the judiciary, to be added to the papers submitted to the investigative court in Hawija, in order to take the necessary legal procedures.”

The Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, led by prominent Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq, had confirmed that the International Council for Human Rights accepted the request it submitted, backed by evidence, to form an international inquiry commission to investigate the events of Hawija, classifying it “a collective massacre,” MP Haider Mulla said in a press conference attended by Al-Monitor.

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