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Iraq parliament stalls on de-Baathification reform bill

[JURIST] The Iraqi parliament [official website, English version] met briefly Wednesday to continue debate on a controversial bill [JURIST report] that would allow former Baath Party [party website, in Arabic; BBC backgrounder] members not convicted of any crimes to return to their previously held government positions, participate in the political process, and serve in the civil and military service. Discussion was inconclusive and despite a previous announcement no vote was held due to low turnout; many parliamentarians boycotted the meeting over coalition-imposed security measures at the parliament building. Hardline Shiite allies of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr [BBC profile] called for the law to be redrafted to include compensation for the families of victims of Saddam Hussein's regime, and for former political prisoners to be reinstated to their jobs. AFP has more.

Sunday's first reading [JURIST report] of the draft law in parliament was met with raucous opposition. Supporters of the measure are looking for a way to reinstate [JURIST report] former Baath party members who say they joined the party for professional reasons; Hussein only allowed university enrollment, career progression and specialized medical aid to those who were members of his party. Despite provisions in the proposal that would prevent reemployment of former Baathists who have been charged with, or are sought for, criminal activities, several influential Shiite leaders oppose the draft law [JURIST report] as a "dangerous" undertaking to return former regime members - many of the Sunnis - to leadership positions in the government. Some Kurds, who were also suppressed by Hussein's Baathist regime, oppose the draft law as well.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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