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Bremer's "Gordian Knot": Transitional Justice and the US Occupation of Iraq

From: Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 27, Number 3, August 2005
pp. 830-857 | 10.1353/hrq.2005.0044


Shortly after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, in his capacity as the chief administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), introduced several transitional justice mechanisms that set the course for how Iraqis would confront the legacy of past crimes for years to come. In developing these mechanisms, Bremer consulted with a select group of Iraqi exiles that had returned to Iraq or were still living abroad. However, he failed to solicit the opinions and attitudes of the Iraqi people as a whole. He also failed to consult many of the governmental and nongovernmental entities that could pass on to the CPA and future Iraqi governments the "lessons learned" and "best practices" gleaned from transitional justice processes in other countries. As a result, many of the mechanisms introduced by Bremer either backfired or were hopelessly flawed.

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