The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was created in 2004 as the successor to the Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector General (CPA-IG). It was created by the US Congress to provide oversight of the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) and all obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated with reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Iraq. SIGIR oversight is accomplished via independent audits, field inspections, and criminal investigations into potential fraud, waste, and abuse of funds.
SIGIR’s Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, published in February 2009, reviews in detail the United States’ rebuilding program in Iraq, with the aim of shedding light on why certain programs worked while others fell short of goals. It highlights the lack of resources for democracy, rule of law building and anti-corruption programmes in the period immediately after the US invasion; the initial failure to consult Iraqi judges and lawyers on law reform proposals and the lack of coordination in the provision of rule of law programmes – particlarly prior to the establishment of a Rule of Law Coordinator’s office with real authority in 2007.
SIGIR submits quarterly reports to the US Congress which make observations on every aspect of US funded assistance to Iraq.
The July 2009 report in Section 1, page 16 records in its comments on the Rule of Law assistance that there are no succession plans for the Chief Justice, who occupies all of the senior judicial and judicial administration posts in Iraq; that judicial security, although improved, remains an issue; that whilst the release of US held detainees continues, problems exist for the Iraqi Ministry of Justice in accommodating them.
The April 2009 report in Section 1, page 13 highlights the lack of transparency in the creation of secondary legislation, noting that Ministerial Regulations are not being published in the Official Gazette.
Other relevant inspection agencies are the Department of Defence Office of Inspector General, the State Department Office of Inspector General (which produced an Inspection Report on rule of law programs in Baghdad on 31 October 2005) and the Government Accountability Office.
Other relevant materials
- Miranda memo, 5 February 2008
- Cyndi Banks, ‘Reconstructing Justice in Iraq: Promoting the Rule of Law in a Post-conflict State’, ISA Conference 2008, San Francisco
- Iraq Study Group Report, 6 December 2006, from the United States Institute for Peace website
- New York Times: U.S. Fears Iraq Development Projects May Go to Waste
- USIP, Centre for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, ‘Lessons Learned’