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Teaching Notes for The Iraq War: Efforts During Conflict to Address Past Atrocities and Seek Accountability, by Sandra L. Hodgkinson.

This case examines a hybrid model for addressing both past atrocities and establishment of a culture of human rights protection in a country plagued by decades of human rights abuses. The CPA’s establishment of an office to support these human rights issues was unique for a military occupation force during a period of ongoing hostilities. At the highest level, this case explores the issue of whether war-torn nations should seek justice for past atrocities, particularly when there are ongoing hostilities and security concerns. It raises more specific questions about whether or not human rights protection can be enshrined in a government-run entity or whether an outside watchdog group is the preferred mechanism. At the most granular level, the case questions the value of modern-day DNA identification processes to identify missing persons where the crimes have lasted for decades, and there are large numbers of missing persons. Finally, it addresses the challenges associated with administering a domestic war crimes tribunal during ongoing hostilities when much of the international war crimes community has decided not to provide adequate support.