| Wednesday, November 16, 2005
| SADDAM STANDS TRIAL
|"It is important for Iraqis to see their dictator facing justice." an analysts says of Saddam in Baghdad in July '04.
After months in solitary, the former Iraqi dictator will soon emerge to face his first charge -- for Genocide.
1. WHERE HAS HE BEEN?
In the 22 months since U.S. soldiers captured him, Saddam Hussein has killed time, mostly in solitary confinement, in a makeshift jail near Baghdad airport, watched over by U.S. guards. Though International Committee of the Red Cross officials have visited nine times, he is allowed few other visitors besides those assigned to interrogate him about his 24-year rule. Lawyers and human rights activists have complained about not having access to Saddam to check on his condition. "The president has not been able to see a lawyer of his own choosing," says Curtis Doebbler, an American attorney working with Saddams's family. This June a croup of National Guardmen assigned to monitor Saddam, 68, revealed that their prisoner spent much of his time reading the Koran, writing peotery and his memoirs on yellow legal pads, snacking on Doritos by the bag-- and, for breakfast, eating Raisin Bran Crcnch.(He has expressed a distaste for Fruit Loops) He also joked around with guards and dispensed dating advice. On Oct 19 Saddam is due to emerge for his long awaited trial in an Iraqi court. To protect the trial venue from ptoential insurgent attacks, its location has not been revealed.
2. WHERE IS THE REST OF HIS FAMILY?
Saddam's notorious sons Uday and Qusay were killed by American forces during a Juky 22,2003, raid in the city of Mosul. Two daugthers, Raghad and Rana, fled for Jordan before the U.S. invasion. His wife Sajidah and another daugher, Hala, are believed to be somewhere in the Persian Gulf states. Saddam's youngest son, Ali - born to his second wife, Samira Shahbandar -- is reportedly in Lebanon.
3. WHAT IS HE BEING CHARGED WITH?
The ex-dictator and seven other members of his regime are charged with crimes against humanity in connection with the massacre of Shiite Muslems in Dujail -- a town north of Baghdad -- that left 143 dead after a failed 1982 assasination attempt on Saddam.
4. WHY SINGLE OUT THAT INCIDENT?
Although Saddam is linked to thousands of deaths during his rule, Iraqie prosecutors felt that Dujail incident would be the easiest to connect him. "That we all know that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy is not enough for a court striving to establish proof beyond doubt," says Tom Malinowski, Washington,D.C. director of Human Rights Watch. "You have to establish a connection between a body in a mass grave and the president of a country."
5. WHO ARE THE JUDGES?
The special tribunal hearing the case includes five judges -- all Iraqi -- who are actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. The lead investivative judge is Raid Juhi, 39, a judge who served under Saddam and who has atr least 18 investigators working on his behalf. "There was a bit of debate about whether this should be an Iraqi-only tribunal or an international tribunal like the kind prosecuting (Serbian dictator) Slobodan Milosevic," says Malinoski. "The Iraqis decided to with a national tribunal. The United States was involved in the decision, but the Iraqis are runniogn this."
6. WHO IS THE LAWYER -- AND WHAT IS THE DEFENSE CASE?
Although a number of foreignb attorneys have offered their services to Saddam, his defense team is led by Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi. He is likelu to argue that the tribunal has no authority and that under Iraqi law during Saddams' regime, the head of state had immunity from prosecution. He may also challenge the evidence, caliming there is no proof directly linking Saddam tot he killings. Says attorney Badee's Aref'lzet, who represents Saddams' codefendant and former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz: "Saddams lawyer will come to the trial and saay that it is totally illegitimate".
7. WILL SADDAM GET THE DEATH PENALTY?
Iraq recently reinstated capital punishment, and has executed several criminals. At least some defense lawyers prefer his odds under the U.S. occupation. "If it was not for the Americans being there, the Iraqis would have killed Saddam already --before the trial." says Izet.
8. WHAT IF HE'S FOUND NOT GUILTY?
Even if Saddam is cleared in the Dujail case, he won't stroll out of prison. He faces trial on several more charges . Any appeal from Saddam would go to a nine-mem,ner appellate panel. "THis first case is a litmus test for the whole new Iraqi justice system". says Malinowski. "The whole world is going to be watching."
SADDAM'S REIGN OF TERROR.
Instead of trying Saddam for all of his alleged crimes at once, the tribunal may hold as many as 14 separate trials, each focused on a different alleged atrocity. Some of the crimes:
** A 1987-88 military campaign in which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or expelled from Iraq.
** The killing of 5,000 in a 1988 chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja.
** Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
** The massacre of 8,000 members of the Kurdish Barzani tribe.
** The tortue of hundreds of religious and political leaders.
|posted by infraternam meam @ 2:26 PM