Chaos in the Courts

By Jeffrey J. Coonjohn and Judge Zuhair al-Maliki

Valentine’s Day was none too sweet for Iraq’s Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud this year. The 79-year old jurist awoke to find himself ignominiously ousted from his post as a result of having once been Saddam Hussein’s personal legal advisor. No sooner did word of his dismissal become public, his enemies went on the attack. “He legalized injustice,” said Vice President Tariq Hashimi, whose death sentence in absentia was upheld by the Supreme Court last year. “He will be relegated to the dustbin of history.” But “The Survivor,” as Judge Medhat is known to his fellow judges, would not be so easily swept aside.  By the end of the week, the embattled Chief Justice would be reinstated to the Supreme Court, once again emerging unscathed after a full-on attack by rival political factions intent on preventing Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki from seeking a third term in 2014. An event that they believe would be the death knell for democracy in Iraq.

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