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Col. Brett Barkey responds to a Monitor news article

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On August 21, 2009, the Christian Science Monitor ran an article, "Ramadi struggles to instill a rule of law." The article bears comment on several points.

First, the author asserts that "Despite a $21 million, US-funded judicial complex opened recently and regular attacks, not a single major case has been brought to justice in at least the last six months."

As the US official responsible for tracking such information, I can report that in the past six months, the Anbar Criminal Court in Ramadi has handed down four death penalties and six life sentences.

Since 2008, over 800 felony cases have been referred from investigative courts to the Anbar Criminal Court in Ramadi for trial, approximately 40 percent of those on terrorism charges.

Second, progress in Iraq should be measured across years not months. The article's focus on what has happened or not in the past six months misses the dramatic improvements since the dark days of Al Qaeda's control of Anbar Province, when courts were either under terrorist control or not operating at all in most of Anbar.

Today, Anbar's civil and criminal courts are busy and functioning across the province. This is a remarkable advancement for the rule of law and is a testament to the courage and tenacity of the Iraqi judges striving in Anbar to overcome significant challenges.

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