US Moves to Boost Cases Against Key Iraqi Detainees

Accord will shift jurisdiction to Baghdad, and officials want evidence to stand up in trial
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 10:18 AM CST
Detainees are seen through the door of their cell at a US detention facility in Baghdad, Nov. 10, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US military has begun assembling evidence against 5,000 Iraqi detainees it deems most dangerous, USA Today reports, hoping to file charges that will stand up in court once Baghdad gains legal jurisdiction. Some 15,800 detainees remain in military custody, but when the Status of Forces Agreement kicks in Jan. 1, anyone not charged under Iraqi law will go free.

“We know who are the most dangerous,” said one general, while noting that many were captured in military operations where “the focus was not on evidence collection.” In some cases, the military is hoping witnesses come forward, while in others it’s relying on forensic evidence judges may not accept. “We’re realistic,” said one major of the prospect some cases will be dismissed.