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Utah legal scholars to assist Iraqis

Utah legal scholars to assist Iraqis



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Legal scholars from the University of Utah will help Iraq establish an independent judiciary.

The university has received a one-year, $2.5 million grant administered by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to work with Iraqis.

Under a new constitution adopted in 2005, Iraq is required to have an independent judiciary.

"They're struggling because they haven't the educational system to bring them along," said Wayne McCormack, a professor with the university's S.J. Quinney College of Law who recently spent a week in Baghdad. "A major challenge is the self-management of the court system."

A goal for advisers is to help build Iraq's judicial capacity -- establishing courts, training personnel, protecting jurists and ensuring public access to the system, said Hiram Chodosh, dean of the Quinney school.

State department officials said the Utah law school was chosen to receive the grant because its faculty includes scholars with expertise in Islamic, constitutional and international law. "They speak Arabic. They understand these traditions. They exhibited a familiarity with the legislative and political landscape of Iraq," said Alex Wong, INL's Baghdad-based, rule-of-law adviser about the Quinney scholars.

Under another INL initiative, U. law professors train Afghan prosecutors.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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