Monday, June 06, 2005

Archival Rescue 53 ~ Iraq, trial

Prosecuting Saddam "a waste of time" says Iraqi government;

Saddam will be tried on only 12 charges

June 6, 2005 - 12:38AM Sydney Morning Herald

Saddam Hussein could face up to 500 charges, but he will be tried on only 12 "thoroughly documented" counts because prosecuting him on all would be a "waste of time", the Iraqi government said.

A prime ministerial spokesman, Laith Kuba, said yesterday Saddam was likely to be tried within the next two months on a range of charges, including alleged crimes committed in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"There should be no objection that a trial should take place within that time frame," Kuba said during a press conference. "It is the government's view that the trial of Saddam should take place as soon as possible."

No date has been set for the trial of Saddam, who is being held in a US-run detention facility in Baghdad since being captured in December 2003.

Kuba said investigating judges believe Saddam will be convicted on 12 "thoroughly documented" charges and could face up to 500 counts, but trying him on all would be a "waste of time."

"The number of charges on which he will be tried are 12 and the judges are confident that he will be convicted of these charges," Kuba said.

Saddam has been accused of ordering the killing of tens of thousands of Shi'ites and Kurds who rose up against him in 1991 following the Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

He was arraigned on July 1 in Baghdad on broad charges including killing rival politicians over 30 years, gassing Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing the Kurdish and Shi'ite uprising.

Raid Juhi, head of the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try Saddam, said the former dictator's morale had plummeted because of the gravity of the war crimes charges he faces.

"The ousted president has suffered a collapse in his morale because he understands the extent of the charges against him and because he's certain that he will stand trial before an impartial court," Juhi told the London based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in an interview published yesterday.

Saddam's lawyer, Khalil al-Duleimi, rejected Juhi's comments, telling The Associated Press that his client was in high spirits and that he was not aware of the 12 cases the judge referred to.

"The last time I met Saddam was in late April and his spirits were very high," al-Duleimi said.



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