- At least 25 boys and men were killed in the first quarter of the year in Baghdad, apparently because they were or were perceived to be gay, after religious leaders in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'a district of al-Sadr City urged their followers to eradicate homosexuality. The perpetrators were believed to be armed Shi'a militia or members of the victims' own families or tribes. Many of the victims were kidnapped and tortured before they were murdered. Some had their bodies mutilated.
- On 12 July, five Christian churches in Baghdad were bombed, killing four civilians and injuring at least 21 others.
- On 13 August, at least 20 people were killed in a double suicide bombing in the town of Sinjar, a stronghold of followers of the Yazidi religion.
- On 25 October, two suicide bombings killed at least 155 people in central Baghdad and injured more than 700. A truck bomb was detonated near the Ministries of Justice and Municipalities; minutes later a car bomb exploded outside the Baghdad Governorate building.
On 1 January, the MNF was holding over 15,000 mostly uncharged detainees at Camp Cropper and other prisons. This total was reduced to 6,466 by early December in accordance with the SOFA, which required that the MNF either release detainees or transfer them to Iraqi custody. Some 7,499 detainees were released after a committee comprising representatives of several Iraqi ministries reviewed their cases and they had been interrogated by security officials. At least 1,441 others, including some foreign nationals, were issued with arrest warrants or detention orders by Iraqi judicial authorities and transferred to Iraqi detention.
In September, the large MNF-run Camp Bucca prison near Um Qasr in southern Iraq was closed. Its inmates were released, transferred to Iraqi custody or moved to the two remaining MNF prisons – Camp Cropper, where most of the detained former high ranking Ba'ath party members remained held; and Camp Taji, north of Baghdad.
- On 8 April, a court in Baghdad's al-Karkh district ruled that there was insufficient evidence against Kadhum Ridha al-Sarraj and ordered his release. However, he was not freed by the MNF until 7 October. He had been arrested on 15 September 2008 at Erbil international airport, handed to the MNF and detained without charge at Camp Cropper, apparently because his medical research led him to be suspected of bombmaking.
At least 391 people were sentenced to death, bringing the total under sentence of death to at least 1,100, including at least 900 people who had exhausted all legal remedies. At least 120 executions were carried out but the true figure may have been higher as the authorities disclosed little information on executions and some were reported to have been carried out secretly.
Most death sentences were imposed after unfair trials for involvement in armed attacks, murder and other violent acts. Defendants commonly complained that "confessions" accepted as evidence against them had been obtained under torture when they were interrogated while held incommunicado in pretrial detention, and that they could not choose their own defence lawyers. In some cases, these "confessions" were broadcast on television.
- On 10 June, 18 men and one woman were hanged at al-Kadhimiya prison, Baghdad. The executions were not officially announced.
Trials of former officials
The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) continued its prosecution of former senior officials and associates of former President Saddam Hussain, executed on 30 December 2006 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other offences. The court, whose independence and impartiality have been tainted by political interference, imposed several death sentences. In late October, more than 50 members of parliament called for the SICT to be detached from the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister and placed under the sole authority of the Supreme Judicial Council. They also called for the SICT's jurisdiction to be extended to cover crimes committed by civilian and military officials after 1 May 2003.