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Iraq: HNDBC Allows More Former Members of the Baath Party to Rejoin Civil Service

(Sept. 10, 2008) On August 20, 2008, as part of the implementation of the Accountability and Justice Law, originally enacted on February 14, 2008, the Higher National De-Baathification Commission (HNDBC) allowed 1,000 former members of the Baath Party to join the civil service in the province of Najaf in southern Iraq. The newly enacted Law allows low-level members of the Baath Party, known in Arabic as Ada'a Firqa [group members], who did not hold elite public positions, to rejoin the civil service. It also regulates the pension rights for dismissed mid-level and low-level former members of the Baath Party. (HNDBC Allows 769 Ba'athists to Return to Their Government Positions, AL-NAJAF NEWS AGENCY, Aug. 20, 2008, available at

The Accountability and Justice Law expands the HNDBC's mission and responsibilities. Article 3 provides that the HNDBC is responsible for eliminating from public service active elements of the Baath Party as well as party members who committed crimes against their fellow Iraqis. Under the new Law, the HNDBC acts not only as a judicial body, but also as an investigative one. Members of the HNDBC have the right to investigate any complaints submitted by victims of the Baath Party. In addition, the HNDBC assumes the power of a judicial body by rendering judgments and enforcing penalties against offenders. Finally, the Law creates an appellate body, known in Arabic as Haya'at Al-Tanfeez (the Cassation Chamber), in order to establish a mechanism to appeal HNDBC judgments. Article 15 of the Law allows former Baath Party members to appeal HNDBC decisions within 30 days of the dismissed party members' awareness of the decision. (Law 10-2008, Feb. 14, 2008 [4061], ALl-WAQA'I AL-IRAQIYAH [the Iraqi official gazette], available at