New Iraqi law to reinstate Baathists

Jan. 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM

BAGHDAD, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A new law in Iraq will allow thousands of allies of former leader Saddam Hussein to return to roles in public life.

The Iraqi Parliament Saturday passed a bill allowing former officials of Hussein's Baath party to seek reinstatement in the military and civil service, the BBC reported.

The United States had pressured Iraq's Shiite-led government to pass the law to involve more Sunni Arabs in the nation's political process.

The Baath party was broken up by former U.S. administrator Paul Bremer in May 2003. The Iraqi army was disbanded and thousands of teachers and civil servants who belonged to the party were banned from government work.

Many were reinstated, however, after the U.S. administration discovered it had purged key ministries and the Iraqi military without having any replacements.

The new law creates a three-month period for ex-members of the party to be examined for possible crimes, after which they will be immune from prosecution for actions that occurred during Hussein's rule.

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