The implementation of the Accountability and Justice Law, designed to allow the re-hiring of thousands of Baathists purged from government jobs, is bogged down by political squabbling, and “the committee once tasked with hunting out Baathists in government has found itself in the odd position of overseeing the process of rehiring them or offering them state pensions”, Reuters reports. Kafka would be proud:
The [Accountability and Justice] committee has received 14,000 applications from former Baathists asking for either reinstatement or for pensions, [director-general Ali al-Freji] said.
But Iraq’s presidency council — which comprises Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, and his two deputies — and a separate Accountability and Justice Committee in parliament have ordered Freji and his colleagues to freeze their work.
Letters sent by the two bodies to Freji’s committee last month, seen by Reuters, said the committee could continue to operate in a caretaker capacity, receiving the applications but not making any decisions on them. It would be up to the new panel, to comprise senior officials, to approve or reject them.
Parliament’s legal committee, however, gave contradictory instructions. It sent a third letter to Freji on June 5, telling him to ignore the other letters and continue with his work.