Sandra Hodgkinson served as the Coalition Provisional Authority's director of human rights in 2003 after the United States' attack against Iraq. An on-line military publication places Hodgkinson in Baghdad with Department of Defense reconstruction and humanitarian assistance planners March 16, 2003, nearly three weeks before US tanks rolled into the city's downtown.
The American Forces Press Service, provided by the United States Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service, reports that Hodgkinson worked several years before the war developing plans for human rights investigations in Iraq:
"The human rights specialist is from the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She is also a Navy Reserve judge advocate general officer with the International and Operational Law Unit at the Pentagon. She's worked as a military prosecutor and an instructor in crimes against humanity issues through the International Military Education and Training program.
"Under the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998, defense officials provided some war crimes and crimes against humanity training at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies in Newport, R.I., for the Iraqi opposition. 'I was the course coordinator and an instructor for that program,' Hodgkinson said, 'which early on, got me working with Iraqi opposition in areas related to crimes against humanity, human rights protection and how to investigate and preserve evidence of these crimes.'
"In her civilian capacity, Hodgkinson has participated in the State Department's Future of Iraq Project, and about two years ago, she spoke at a Human Rights and Transitional Justice seminar arranged by the Iraqi National Congress in London. In February she began working with the Defense Department's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, deploying first to Kuwait and then to Baghdad on March 16." 
By early 2006, Hodgkinson was Deputy Director at the Office for War Crimes Issues. In that capacity, she appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to defend detention without trial at Guantanamo Bay following the publication of a critical report by UN human rights envoys.
In the interview, Hodgkinson:
- said that "it has been a time tested principle that individuals can be detained in times of armed conflict indefinitely. There's no requirement they be brought to a court in times of armed conflict... that's the tradition under the Geneva Conventions".
- stated that the purpose of forced feeding at the base was to keep the detainees as "healthy and safe as they can be as detainees"