Assessment of Laws and Policies on Decentralisation (Past Project)

The combination of weak and partly dysfunctional state structures on the one hand and the rise of the ‘Islamic State’ militia on the other constituted a significant challenge for Iraq. Local and international actors asked themselves how the country could be stabilised.

Before this background the German Federal Foreign Office tasked the Max Planck Foundation to assess the Iraqi laws and policies on decentralisation that aim at reforming the centralised bureaucracy that characterised the country’s administration under the Ba’ath regime and improving governance at the regional and governorate levels. This included an analysis of the degree of their implementation.

As of mid-2015, the practice of the relevant state institutions and actors in Iraq tackled the issue of decentralisation under predominantly technical auspices. Substantial efforts in that respect were already under way. The decentralisation of administrative structures was mainly coordinated through the relevant ministries, particularly the State Ministry for Provincial Affairs. In consequence thereof the establishment of decentralised structures remained largely confined to the administrative sphere. However, the experts of the Foundation identified a significant potential to strengthen the involvement of parliamentary actors. During their talks in Baghdad this issue also was discussed with the latter, inter alia with regard to the further development of the necessary legislative framework for a comprehensive, effective decentralisation.

Legal Cooperation with Iraq (Past Project)

The Foundation’s efforts to establish solid legal cooperation with Iraq led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the High Judicial Authority in the Kurdistan region in 2013. The main goal of this cooperation is to enhance the capacity and legal expertise of judges and prosecutors serving in the Kurdistan region. One possible project would focus on strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the further development of fair-trial standards as well as the rule of law and would, thereby, be related to subject matters which are also components of the projects in Afghanistan.

In December 2013 the Foundation’s research fellows participated in the group meeting “Political Dialogue, Capacity Building and Civic Education-Development Cooperation for Projects in Iraq in 2014 and Beyond”, which was held in Erbil on 6 December 2013 in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Germany. A Max Planck Foundation’s expert gave a presentation about the role of the judiciary in promoting the rule of law in Iraq. Together with other international stakeholders like the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNA MI), the International Crisis Group and the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI), the Max Planck team discussed possibilities of cooperation in future projects in Iraq. The following themes have been identified as priority for capacity building activities: anti-corruption, human rights and fair-trial standards.

Research fellows from the Foundation also participated in the conference “Iraq: Ten Years On – Stocktaking and Perspectives” also held in Erbil city in December 2013. During this conference, experts from the Foundation gave a presentation about institutionalisation within the state-building process of the new federal Iraq and the importance of a second chamber. The Foundation’s researchers chaired the human rights panel during the conference and, during the panel on transitional justice, highlighted the importance of well-functioning institutions and their role in achieving stability and reconciliation.

Institution building remains an arduous task; inter alia due to the deteriorating security situation in central Iraq. The Foundation is planning to maintain further solid relations with its Iraqi counterparts like the Iraqi Federal Council and continue cooperating with relevant international stakeholders.

Promotion of the Rule of Law and Stabilisation of Iraqi State Structures (Past Project)

Completed Project of the Global Knowledge Transfer Working Group at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Promotion of the Rule of Law and Stabilisation of Iraqi State Structures: Project Description

Extracted from Global Knowledge Transfer Report 2002–2012 by Global Knowledge Transfer Working Group: Full Report