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The EUJUST Lex mission in Iraq, extended for 2 years, enters the country

DiazAlcantud-UE100615.jpg(BRUSSELS2) The Europeans decided, on 14 June, to extend their rule of law mission in Iraq for two additional years (EUJUST Lex) (1). This mission, which aims to train new judicial, police and penitentiary officials in the country, has already trained, since its start in 2005, 3266 officers during 118 training sessions.

Transfer to Iraq

This two-year extension is accompanied by a transformation of the mission not in its tasks but in its modalities. This mission has until now operated “off shore”, outside Iraq, either in nearby countries (Jordan, etc.), or in member states. A first movement had been observed for more than a year aimed at establishing itself in the country. A pilot project had thus been approved (read : The pilot phase of the “Rule of Law” mission in Iraq, approved by the 27).

This movement will grow and its leader, Spanish Colonel Francisco Díaz Alcantud, who gave a small press conference today, intends that within a year, half of the personnel will be on the ground. The Mission will thus transform its “antenna” in Basra into a full-fledged office in addition to the office in Baghdad and that in Erbil (Kurdistan).

The mission must quickly (by summer) increase its workforce by half. the recruitment of around 25 additional people is underway, as we announced (see The rule of law missions in Kosovo and Iraq are recruiting). "Depending on the evolution of the situation in Iraq and during the implementation of the new mandate, the head of mission and most of his team will move from Brussels to Iraq and will be posted to Baghdad as soon as the situation allows..” specify the 27.

On the security side, Colonel Alcantud believes that the risk of terrorism still exists, even if it has decreased. And the mission benefits from assistance from British forces in Baghdad and Basra, as well as a private contractor.

Reappropriation by the Iraqis 

However, certain principles remain acquired. As does for the participants of “be able to attend activities carried out in the country that concern them, regardless of where they take place“There is therefore no question of encouraging a segmentation of the country into communities. The 27 also insist on the need for better “coordinate the actions undertaken to select, control, evaluate, monitor and structure the personnel following the training, with a view to continued care by the Iraqis“. It's necessary "promote the reappropriation by the Iraqis” of the training of their personnel explains Colonel Alcantud.

Improve coordination with other missions

Finally, the 27 would like to see better application of a “close coordination between EUJUST LEX-IRAQ and Member States providing training (Who) is needed during the planning phase and the implementation phase. This coordination should include the participation of the diplomatic missions of the Member States concerned in Iraq, as well as the establishment of contacts with the Member States currently providing mission-relevant training.. "

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Decision to download here. NB: announced in April, the decision could not be formalized at the May Council.

(photo credit: Council of the EU)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).