Oct. 3, marked the official handover of the newly renovated Rusafa Federal Courthouse in Baghdad, Iraq. The much needed renovation project included repairs to the courthouse building and grounds, as well as improvements to the security of the facility.
The Rusafa Courthouse complex - Iraq’s oldest and largest - houses 13 different courts to include appeals, civil, criminal and commercial law. This facility was initially completed by Central District, Gulf Region Division at a cost of $12.5 million. When it was originally opened, then U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker called it “a palace where the common man can receive justice.”
This regional court facility is located in the Al Rusafa District of Baghdad and also serves adjacent areas east of the Tigris River, encompassing approximately 1.2 million people. This building is based on a generic courthouse design which serves as the model for all other new courthouse constructions throughout Iraq. The facility construction was funded with a combination of Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund and Department of Justice funding.
The Courthouse fell into a state of disrepair, and due to the importance of the facility to both the Governments of Iraq and the United States, the U.S. State Department decided to fund the necessary repairs in October 2010. The Middle East District awarded a design-bid-build contract for the repairs and renovations on July 31, 2012. The Gulf Area Office supervised the renovation work which was completed on Sept. 12, 2013. The total renovation project cost was $2,069,014. Renovations were made to building lighting, several supporting columns, electrical, HVAC and ventilation systems as well as cosmetic changes. In addition, improvements were made to security and the fire suppression system.
Several dozen people attended the handover ceremony to include Andrew Snow and Joe Jordi from the U.S. Embassy Baghdad's Economic Counselor Section, and Judge Jaffar Mosin, the Rusafa Courthouse Head Judge. Mosin remarked that he now had a facility he would be proud to tell everyone was built by Americans.
”During the 12 months of renovations, the project delivery team worked extremely well to efficiently produce a high quality project on budget and with only minimal time growth, which is quite impressive in this environment. Kudos to our contractor, Rayet Al-Shams Company, who was praised by the project’s stakeholders throughout their period of performance,” said LTC Kevin Stoll, Gulf Area Office Officer in Charge.
The Middle East District provides engineering, construction and related services in the Middle East, Central Asia and other areas. Its work includes designing and constructing facilities for use by U.S. forces, performing engineering activities for other U.S. government and foreign agencies, and providing operations and maintenance services for various customers. In addition, the District provides project management, engineering, contracting and support services to USACE districts in Afghanistan.