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KHALIDYAH, Iraq – A Marine from 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Civil Affairs, Detachment 3, Team 4 with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, inspects construction progress of the Khalidyah Courthouse, Sept 29. When completed the court house will provide offices and a courtroom for the Habbaniyah judiciary. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Work begins on new Khalidyah courthouse

29 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt 1st Marine Division

KHALIDYAH, Iraq – While Iraqi Police continue to progress in their role as law enforcers, civic leaders in Khalidyah, Iraq, are making advancements of their own to uphold the rule of law.

City officials, with the assistance of 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Civil Affairs Detachment 3, Team 4, with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, began construction of the city’s future courthouse.

“The judiciary needs an adequate and secure facility, which can provide the citizens of the Habbaniyah area basic civil services,” explained Capt. William Carman, the battalion judge advocate.  

When completed, the courthouse will provide the necessary means for the judicial sector to provide civil services to local Iraqis, adjudicate misdemeanor-level offenses and examine evidence of felonious crimes.

“The courthouse is important to ensure justice is done as far as crime, punishment and rule of law are concerned,” said Carman.

Besides providing the judiciary with a facility, “The project stands as a symbol of the community’s desire to take the next step and stand on their own,” said Cpl. Isaac Martinez, a member of Team 4.
Iraqi courts follow what is called civil law, a legal system based on broad, conceptualized principles rather than precedent and customs.

Well before Coalition Forces’ assistance, a well-defined and developed Iraqi penal code, code of criminal procedure, and other laws were in place.

“The new courthouse will facilitate the development of the rule of law in a way that other projects can’t,” explained Carman. “It will serve as the substantive and symbolic center of justice (in the community).”

A building standing for ‘Iraqi solutions to Iraqi problems,’ the courthouse is a place where Iraqis may resolve disputes according to civil law and gain access to other public services.

“It will show that criminals, Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi citizens are all subject to and beneficiaries of the rule of law,” said Carman.

Currently in its first phase of construction, the Khalidyah Courthouse is scheduled for completion this spring.  

1st Marine Division