Global Policy Forum

US War Crime Experts Sent to Iraq

March 7, 2004

Washington has sent a team of US legal and criminal experts to Iraq to seek evidence for future war crimes trials.

About 50 lawyers, investigators and prosecutors will start to assemble cases against former president Saddam Hussein and other regime chiefs. A US justice department senior official said the aim was to help Iraq's new leaders who will decide on trials. The group, known as the Regime Crimes Adviser's Office, will report to the Coalition Provisional Authority. The justice official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said investigators wanted to lay the groundwork for war crimes cases against Saddam Hussein and others that would eventually be turned over to Iraqi prosecutors. Staff from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US marshals will assist the work and contributions are also expected from British, Spanish and Australian investigators, the official said. The justice department was ordered to take the lead in developing the legal case against Saddam Hussein earlier this year by the head of the White House National Security Council, Condoleezza Rice.

Trial speculation

The former Iraqi leader, deposed from power last April and captured in December, is expected to face some form of trial, though details have yet to be worked out. Coalition authorities have said it will be up to the new Iraqi government to decide how Saddam Hussein should face justice. Many other senior members of the former regime have also been captured by US-led forces. They include Ali Hasan Majid, Saddam Hussein's cousin who became known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in the mass gassing of Kurds in 1988. He could be tried for that and other atrocities, correspondents say. There has been speculation over whether a war crimes tribunal should be held in Iraq with Iraqi judges or what level of international involvement there should be. There has also been no agreement on what punishment any future tribunal could order. US President George W Bush has already said he believes Saddam Hussein should be executed. "This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves... the ultimate justice," he said in a US television interview days after US troops captured the former leader.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on the Iraq Tribunal
More Information on the Iraq Crisis


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.