Court is now in session

2 Apr 2008 | Cpl. Billy Hall

Having a fully functional legal system is essential in maintaining stability and justice. With the gradual return of stability to al-Qa’im, Iraq, justice now has the opportunity to take a seat at the forefront of society.

The Court of al-Qa’im in Husaybah, Iraq, is undergoing a transformation intended to ensure the law of the land stands to long protect its people. 

With the assistance of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, the recently revamped Court of al-Qa’im is now running more efficiently and effectively.

“The goal was to make the courthouse more professional and modernized by bringing them electricity, internet, furniture, copy machines and filing cabinets,” said Capt. Korvin Kraics, staff judge advocate for 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “Everything was written by hand. They had no filing system. They had nothing that we in a modern legal system are used to.”

The courthouse has a 13-person staff, including five judges, and they have been steadily increasing their workload with all the recent improvements.

“Now we’re able to get much more work done,” said Judge Ausamah Abd Alrazak. “The Coalition forces have helped us more than anyone else.”

A year ago, the Court of al-Qa’im was barely operational, but now the local judges and staff are ready to reclaim order in the region.

“Most of all, I think we’re seeing improvements from a time a year ago when the judges weren’t willing to work,” said Kraics. “Now, they’re saying that there’s too much work, and they’re starting to get bogged down because the legal system is starting to push forward.”

An additional focus of the renovations was to allow the judges the ability to see cases in a functioning courtroom.

“The judges were working cases out of their own office, so literally, the citizens were piled outside of the offices waiting to be the next in line,” said Kraics. “What we  wanted to do was give them a public forum, so the judges could use their offices as a private working area.”

The dedication of the local judges in their pursuit of justice will be the determining factor for the future of the region’s legal system.

“My hope is that rule of law dictates,” said Kraics. “It is natural in the Iraqi system to allow tribalism to take over and I’m hoping that the power of law will begin to shape the local environment.”

As the pieces of the puzzle come together for the Court of al-Qa’im, the local judges seem ready to stand their ground against corruption and injustice.  

“I have high hopes for the future,” said Alrazak. “I am a judge and I will continue to do my duty. To me, a judge is the shadow of God here on Earth.”