Vivian Gembara served as the prosecutor and legal advisor for the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team. She was awarded seven medals for her service, including the Bronze Star.
Just 28 at the time, Gembara conducted the first trial of a U.S. soldier in Iraq.
She also initiated the first major investigation into detainee abuse in Iraq—the drowning of an Iraqi by 1-8—and investigated the cover-up that followed.
During her year-long deployment to Iraq, she also successfully:
•collected evidence that was used in the trial against Saddam Hussein—evidence that provided proof of a massacre in Ad Dujayl, directed by Hussein and one of his local henchmen in the early 1980s;
•prosecuted courts-martial with sentences totaling over 16 years incarceration;
•advised commanders and soldiers on the Rules of Engagement during combat missions;
•helped re-establish the judicial system in two provinces;
•negotiated the surrender of the Mujahedeen-E Khalq (MEK), an armed Iranian opposition force operating in Iraq;
•set up detainment facilities;
•trained Iraqi police and security personnel;
•and spearheaded the Small Rewards program.
She has also advised members of Congress about the MEK and has spoken to legal groups about the military justice system in Iraq. May 10, 2005, she testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives on the topic of: "Iraq's Future: The Iranian Impact."
Gembara has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, and Reuters News Agency and authored an article concerning the MEK, titled “U.S. missed opportunity with Iranian rebels” (Iran Focus).
Gembara attended the University of Notre Dame on an Army ROTC scholarship, graduated from Army Airborne School, received her law degree from the College of William and Mary, and graduated from the Army Judge Advocate General School.
She ended her military service in 2004 and is currently practicing law in Denver, Colorado.