Order 19: Freedom of Assembly
COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY ORDER NUMBER 19
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
Pursuant to my authority as Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA),
and under the laws and usages of war and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,
including Resolution 1483 (2003),
Noting the obligation of the CPA to restore and maintain order and the right of the CPA
to take measures for its security and public order,
Concerned by the exploitation of demonstrations by persons intent on inciting violence
against the Iraqi people, the CPA and Coalition Forces,
Noting that the provisions of the Third Edition of the 1969 Iraqi Penal Code, Part Two,
Chapter Two, at paragraphs 220 to 222 unreasonably restrict the right to freedom of
expression and the right of peaceful assembly.
Determined to remove the unacceptable restrictions on human rights of the former Iraqi
Ba`ath Party regime, and to promote the freedom of the Iraqi people to demonstrate in a
peaceful and orderly manner,
I hereby promulgate the following:
1) The prohibition on freedom of assembly contained in the Iraqi Penal Code is
inconsistent with Iraq’s human rights obligations and was an instrument of
repression under the former Iraqi Ba`ath Party regime. It is the intention of the
CPA to remove such prohibitions and advance towards normalization and the
establishment of civil society as public security improves.
2) This Order is necessary to protect public health, welfare and safety. The
maintenance of good order and safety in Iraq is a paramount responsibility of the
CPA. The CPA is determined to prevent the exploitation of demonstrations by
elements intent on causing death or injury.
a) The public health, welfare and safety of the community require that the
movement of vehicular traffic on roadways be lawfully conducted with a
minimum of disruption.
b) The practice of unhindered or unrestrained picketing or demonstrating on
such roadways may cause disruption of police, emergency and relief
services, and injury to participants and bystanders.
c) The practice of multiple demonstrations on the same day in different
locations in municipalities may unreasonably deprive the citizens of police,
emergency and relief services.
Suspension of Laws
The provisions of the Third Edition of the 1969 Iraqi Penal Code, Part Two,
Chapter Two, at paragraphs 220 to 222 which unreasonably restrict the right to
freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly are hereby suspended.
1) It is unlawful for any person, group or organization to conduct or participate in
any march, assembly, meeting or gathering on roadways, public thoroughfares or
public places in more than one specific area of or location in, any municipality on
any given day, unless acting under authority of the Coalition Force Commander or
a Divisional or Brigade Commander (hereinafter “Approving Authorities”).
2) It is unlawful for any group or organization or any individual acting with such
group or organization, to conduct or participate in any march, assembly, meeting
or gathering on roadways unless limited to such numbers as, upon the
determination of an Approving Authority, will not unreasonably obstruct
pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The Approving Authority shall, within 12 hours of
receiving a notice of assembly under this Order, inform the group or organization
as to the maximum number of authorized participants.
3) It is unlawful for any march, assembly, meeting or gathering held on roadways,
public thoroughfares or public places, to continue for longer than four hours, or to
be held within 500 meters of any CPA or Coalition Force facility.
Notice of Assemblage in Writing
It is unlawful for any group or organization to conduct or participate in any march,
assembly, meeting or gathering on roadways, public thoroughfares or public
places unless an Approving Authority has been given notice in writing of the
location, the maximum number of persons participating, and the names and
addresses of the organizers of any such march, assembly, meeting or gathering, its
CPA/ORD/09 July 2003/19
route, and its time of inception and duration at least 24 hours before such
Scheduling of Assembly
It is unlawful for any group, organization, or individual to conduct or participate in
any march, assembly, meeting or gathering on roadways or public thoroughfares
during peak traffic periods unless authorized by an Approving Authority for the
area in which the march, assembly, meeting or gathering is to be held. Peak traffic
periods, unless otherwise set by municipal or CPA authority, are for the purposes
of this Order declared to be 0730 hours to 0900 hours, and from 1630 hours to
1800 hours in the afternoon, Saturday through Thursday except for national
1) It is prohibited to bring to, or wear at, any march, assembly, meeting or gathering
a) firearm of any description;
b) sharpened object of any kind;
c) projectiles intended to cause injury, including rocks;
d) poles, bats, sticks or any object that may be used as a club except for
materials forming part of a sign; and
e) helmets, masks, balaclavas or other non-traditional facial covering.
2) Any such prohibited items brought to any march, assembly, meeting or gathering
are liable to be confiscated immediately.
Any individual violating this Order may be detained, arrested, prosecuted and, if
convicted, sentenced to up to one year in prison.
CPA/ORD/09 July 2003/19