Rule of Law in Iraq


  • In December 2018 400 Civilians were surveyed in Mosul on their opinion on the Rule of Law in Post ISIS Iraq and ISIS related trials.
  • Random sample across 11 Mosul neighborhoods. Dec 23-30, 2018.
  • In January 2019, 200 members of ISIS families were surveyed in camps around Mosul (Qayyarah Jad’ah, Hamam Al Alil, and Salamyiah)

Report based on those results Rule of Law in Post ISIS Mosul


Gender and Accountability for Political Violence: The Case of Female Members of the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq 

To what extent do publics hold gendered views of justice and accountability for political violence? We consider the compelling case of female supporters of the Islamic State in Mosul Iraq. Following the liberation of Mosul by Iraqi Armed Forces in 2017, thousands of women and their families were detained on suspicion of having supported the Islamic State, which ruled over Mosul between 2014-2017. However, under Iraqi law, women who supported ISIS, married ISIS fighters, and worked in administrative positions under ISIS are not held accountable in Iraqi criminal or counterterrorism courts. While a great deal of attention has been spent on bringing ISIS leaders and fighters to justice in Iraq, little attention has been paid to the role of women in the movement. In a December 2018 survey, we inquire about public perceptions of female accountability for supporting ISIS. We randomly sampled 400 Mosul residents on their views of rule of law and punishment preferences for female ISIS supporters. In contrast to prevailing patriarchal norms underlying Iraqi law, publics in Mosul see ISIS women as agents of their own free will, and consider them radical, dangerous, critical to the functioning of ISIS organization, and instrumental in supporting ISIS fighters. In contrast, they reject patriarchal explanations that women in ISIS were just showing obedience to their husbands and male leadership. In experimental survey vignettes, we also find that residents of Mosul mete out punishments to female ISIS supporters comparable to male counterparts, and do not distinguish strongly between those women who worked for ISIS and those who married ISIS fighters and leaders. Our findings run counter to prevailing patriarchal norms governing accountability under Iraqi law and conventional views on female agency and gendered norms of justice in the Middle East.

Accountability and Due Process Under Transitional Justice: Evidence from Mosul, Iraq

How important are due process norms to holding groups accountable for political violence? In this study, we examine public perception of justice and fairness in criminal proceedings brought against suspected Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and supporters in Mosul, Iraq. When the Iraqi Armed Forces recaptured Mosul in 2017, they detained thousands of suspected ISIS fighters and supporters, who are now standing trial in Iraqi criminal and counter-terrorism courts for their role in the 2014-2017 ISIS occupation of Mosul. In December 23-30, 2018, we conducted a survey of a random sample of 400 residents of Mosul to understand public perceptions of the rule of law with respect to those accused of supporting ISIS. Using experimental survey vignettes, we find that, despite strong punishment preferences for ISIS leaders and followers, subjects are also sensitive to basic norms of fairness and due process to include: access to legal representation, the right to speak in one’s defense, the credibility of witnesses, and the impartiality of judges. Subjects are also deeply concerned about corruption in the legal system in general, even as it applies to ISIS captives. Overall, we find that Iraqis in Mosul have a more nuanced appreciation of the rule of law, even as it relates to adversaries, than conventional wisdom might dictate and can see value in establishing a legal system that transcends grievances and desires for revenge and retribution.