Iraq makes first apology for atrocities under Saddam Hussein

01/09/2012 21:22

DW_World:  Iraq's Interior Ministry has issued a public apology for acts committed during the era of the late dictator Saddam Hussein. The apology was timed to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Iraqi police force on Monday.

"The security forces apologize for getting implicated in the practices of the former regime," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. "They were forced to carry out practices that were not their duties."

Iraqi police in an armored vehicleThe Interior Ministry renewed the police's commitment to protectionThe statement said that police force pledged to fulfill its duty as a protector of people and property "without being subjected to political orientation."

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the police force has been completely reformed.

Nevertheless, the police and army still regularly face criticism from human rights groups over reports of heavy-handedness, random arrests and abuse. Last year a UN report found that there was still "a level of skepticism and mistrust towards the police in terms of law enforcement and human security."

The Interior Ministry apology came just days after 70 people were killed in a wave of bombings in the latest spate of deadly violence against Shiite Muslims. The attacks have cast a shadow over US and Iraqi assertions that domestic forces are capable of maintaining internal security.

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