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Iraq: U.S. Forces and the Iraqi Government Succeed in Implementing the General Amnesty Law

(Sept. 25, 2008) Since the enactment of the General Amnesty Law on March 3, 2008, by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States forces in Iraq began the process of releasing Iraqis being detained in Camp Cropper (a detention site in Baghdad for high-profile detainees)and Camp Bucca (a holding facility in southern Iraq). As part of the implementation of the Law, and in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior, U.S. forces have already released 11,000 Iraqis and plan to free an additional 15,000 detainees by December 2008. The remaining detainees, who are excluded under the Law's provisions, will be delivered to Iraqi correctional facilities. According to the Chairman of the Iraqi Parliament, the execution of the Law will result in the permanent closure of both holding facilities. (The Chairman of the Iraqi Parliament Discusses a Program Concerning the Release of Iraqi Detainees in US Forces Detention Centers, AL-HAYAT, Sept. 16, 2008, available at

The aim of the General Amnesty Law is to release Iraqis who are being held by U.S. forces without having been legally charged. Article 3 of the Law requires the immediate release of prisoners who have been held for at least a year, and

  • have not been brought before an investigating entity; or

  • have not had a trial.

However, the Law excludes individuals who are suspected of having committed the following crimes: acts of terrorism; voluntary killing; random kidnapping for ransom; rape; counterfeiting of Iraqi and foreign currency; drug trafficking; and trafficking of ancient Iraqi artifacts. (Law 19-2008, Mar. 3, 2008 [4065], AL-WAQA'I AL-IRAQIYAH [Iraqi Official Gazette], available at