Ba'aj Court House in Ninewa officially reopens after rehabilitation
09 March 2023
Ba’aj/Baghdad, 8 March 2023 - The Ba'aj Court House in Ninewa has officially reopened after extensive rehabilitation, aiming to improve judicial infrastructure in western Ninewa. The facility was inaugurated during a two-day visit by the UNDP Resident Representative to western Ninewa, where he took stock of the progress made and explored new opportunities for intervention.
The Court House, severely damaged during the ISIL occupation, forced judges to operate from a makeshift facility lacking sufficient space and capacity to support court operations. With generous support from the Netherlands, the UNDP rehabilitated the facility through its Funding Facility for Stabilization.
Today, the spacious and purpose-built facility serves over 70,000 people across western Ninewa. The reconstructed court will offer various judicial services, including marriage contracts, legal authorizations, dispute resolution, and arrest warrants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, UNDP Iraq Resident Representative, Auke Lootsma, says, “Rehabilitation of the Ba'aj Court House is not only about improving the infrastructure, but it is also about strengthening the capacity of judicial services to ensure the rule of law is protected in Ninewa. By providing a safe and accessible space for judges and prosecutors to carry out their duties, we are helping to restore confidence in the judicial system and ensure equal access to justice for all.”
“We extend our deepest gratitude to the international community, and in particular the Government of the Netherlands, for their commitment to the rehabilitation of the Ba'aj Court House. This project demonstrates the impact of international cooperation and solidarity in building a stronger Iraq,” Auke Lootsma adds.
In response to the completion of the project, the Netherlands’ Ambassador Hans Sandee explains, “The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of the Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq, as implemented by our partner UNDP. The Netherlands sees great value in contributing to strengthening the rule of law in Iraq, and by rehabilitating the Ba’aj Court House, we hope to ensure access to justice and accountability in western Ninewa.”
With the Netherlands' support, UNDP rehabilitated 46 law enforcement facilities, including three courthouses, four national security buildings, 28 police stations, one police training centre and ten police directorate offices in Ninewa, Kirkuk, and Salah al-Din. This also complements UNDP's ongoing security sector reform initiatives, including training law enforcement officers and police to improve local police effectiveness, leadership, and criminal investigation.
The project was implemented through UNDP’s flagship programme, the Funding Facility for Stabilization, with generous support from the Government of the Netherlands. Since 2015, the Netherlands has contributed over US$ 107 million to the Funding Facility for Stabilization and US$ 8.5 million to security sector reform, making it one of UNDP's largest contributors in Iraq. The funding has focused on infrastructure rehabilitation, restoring local police services, and building the capacity of the Iraqi government to meet citizens' needs.