Public Prosecutor demands six years in prison against former Iraqi judge for false arrest warrants in family feud
On Thursday, the Public Prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of six years against a former judge of the Iraqi Special Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity. The 70-year-old Dutchman of Iraqi descent is on trial for signing arrest warrants for his son in law and his son in law's eldest brother on false grounds on June 2, 2010.
The arrest warrants stated that both men were connected to military attacks on two villages in 1999 as members of the Ba’ath regime. It was alleged that during these attacks, civilians were killed and houses were destroyed and plundered. The accusations, which were fabricated, included murder, genocide and crimes against humanity.
The suspect was able to sign the arrest warrants, because he worked as a judge on the Iraqi Special Tribunal after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. He travelled between Baghdad in Iraq and Utrecht in the Netherlands, where he and his family had settled after fleeing Iraq in the nineties.
The judge allegedly tried to use the arrest warrants to force his son in law to divorce his daughter and to entrust the care of his granddaughter to her mother. Moreover, his son in law apparently had to pay approximately € 17,000 to compensate for a photograph of his daughter not wearing a veil on the Internet.
In the performance of the arrest warrant in December of 2010, the Iraqi police raided the family's home in Basra. The eldest brother was held captive for one day and one night, after which the judge's son in law agreed to the divorce and to the payment of compensation for the photograph. The arrest warrant for the eldest brother was revoked, although he remained registered as a 'wanted person' for months afterwards.
In 2011, Interpol Baghdad sent the arrest warrant for the suspect's son in law to the Netherlands, where he had lived since 1994. In February of 2012, he was surrounded by seven police officers in several cars in the Dutch city of Nijmegen and held for an hour and a half. It wasn't until April 3, 2017 that Iraq revoked the international arrest warrant.
The Public Prosecutors of the National Public Prosecutor's Office stated before the court that the suspect had committed gross abuse of power in his position as judge since the victims were extra vulnerable: "When you're the victim of abuse of power by one of the highest judges in the country, who can you turn to?" Moreover, the Public Prosecutors proclaimed that the suspect blatantly abused the vulnerability of the young Iraqi judicial system: "His actions jeopardised the fragile faith in the Iraqi judicial and policing authorities."