The Commission of Integrity in Iraq has issued 60 arrest warrants against former and current officials who are accused of abusing their positions.
The spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Office, Sa’ad al-Hadithi, revealed that the Prime Minister, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, will be issuing arrest warrants against high-ranking officials linked to corruption in the Iraqi Government.
However, this does not mean that those officials have already been charged: “Warrants do not mean prior condemnation. However, the official, the minister, the Director-General, or Deputy Minister will not be summoned unless they had a role in this matter, such as signing or approving an illegal action. Therefore, the prosecution will give everyone the right to clarify their actions. If they are charged, they can defend themselves before the judge”, noted Ummar al-Shabali, a member of the House of Representatives.
These actions are set to be taken in coordination with the Anti-Corruption Committee and the Supreme Judicial Court. Al-Hadithi asserted that these efforts are part of the Prime Minister’s attempts to heed the protesters’ demands and to provide better services to citizens across the country.
“Recent warrants were issued due to the cases referred to the Anti-Corruption Council. They were activated by the Supreme Judicial Council – the prosecution and the Integrity Commission – the Investigation Department. Moreover, there are cases that are being open daily”, mentioned Saeed Yaseen, a member of the Anti-Corruption Council.
Although the protesters have been calling for the prosecution of corruption individuals in positions of authority, activists have noted that these attempts at appeasing the protesters are too little, too late.
Protests have been continuing in Iraq for almost a month since the second bout of demonstrations were launched on 25 October. Over 300 people are known to have been killed throughout. The Government has thus far proposed changes to the electoral law and investigations into the killings. These arrest warrants are an additional measure undertaken by the Government in an attempt to appease the protesters, however the intense nature of the demonstrations are unlike to subside as a result of such piecemeal reforms.