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Iraqi provinces take ex-Baathists to court

Iraq's de-Baathification law has been a matter of controversy since its adoption in 2003, as some argue that the firm measures against former Baathists led to terrorism.
Protesters hold up Iraqi flags and pictures of their relatives who were killed during the Saddam era in a rally against the return of Saddam Hussein's Baath party, in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad February 10, 2010.    REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR2A18M

Iraq's de-Baathification crisis resurfaced Feb. 2, when the Cabinet approved amendments to the Justice and Accountability Act, which deals with the country's ex-Baathists and the banning of the Baath Party. The political agreement that established Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government also provided for the closure of the Baath Party issue, referring it to the judiciary. Now, individuals who would like to sue the former ruling party have the right to do so, yet their lawsuits must target individual members who have committed crimes, not the entire dissolved party.

The State of Law Coalition adopted the new law, with the Sunnis and the Union of Nationalist Forces in opposition. Yet, the new law is not in line with the aforementioned political agreement, according to which the Baath Party can be tried as a whole.

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