Global Policy Forum

Tribunal Set Up for Saddam Trial

April 21, 2004

A spokesman for the pro-American Iraqi National Congress has given details of the new tribunal being set up to try former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi National Congress has named a general director of the tribunal, seven judges and several prosecutors. It also allocated a budget of $75m for 2004-2005, but did not set a date for the trial to begin. The court will decide the charges faced by Saddam Hussein, which might include genocide and crimes against humanity. Saddam Hussein was captured by US troops in December and has since been held by American forces at an undisclosed location.


"Lawyer Salem Chalabi was named president of the court," said Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Mr Chalabi is a US-educated lawyer and nephew of the head of the INC, Ahmed Chalabi. During Saddam Hussein's rule, the INC was a fractious opposition group of Iraqi exiles. It has received funding from the US for much of the period since the 1991 Gulf War. Within in Iraq, it has limited support and credibility, partly because it is so close to the American administration. "The building that will house the court has also been selected," Mr Qanbar added, without giving further details. The judges and prosecutors will undergo training, including in international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity, he said. They will also prosecute any members of Saddam's Baathist regime who face charges, he added.


Documents seized by American forces since the war are likely to form part of the evidence against the former Iraqi leadership. US officials say that since the fall of Saddam, 300,000 bodies have been found buried in mass graves. They say they are the victims of campaigns against Kurds, Shias, and Saddam's political enemies. But a French lawyer expected to defend Saddam has said a fair trial would be impossible. Jacques Verges told the BBC it was unjust that no formal charges had been presented, so that neither Saddam nor anyone else knew what he was accused of.

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