The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Friday, December 30, 2005

Britain Considered Treating Saddam

The British government in 1975, thirty years ago, considered treating Saddam Hussein for his bad back.

This was a ploy to improve relations with him.

Classified documents released to the National Archive show that the government considered taking Saddam to Britain for the treatment, even though he was not the Iraqi leader in 1975.

Officials considered the prospect that Saddam could be successfully treated in Britain as "most encouraging," the report said.

In 1975, Saddam was seen as a figure worth courting in the Arab world.

The documents do not show what became of the plan.

Yesterday's star becomes today's pariah.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Stop Start

The trial of Saddam Hussein continues in rather a stop start fashion, as it was again adjourned yesterday; this time until the 24th of January 2006.

Saddam Hussein managed to verbally bombast the US president and Israel; he claimed that prison officials had manhandled him and stolen his money, his personal watch and another watch given to him by his daughter.

Taha Yassin Ramadan, formerly a top aide of Saddam, said that buildings had been demolished for security reasons. He also alleged he had been tortured during his detention, and that one of his toes had been broken by the interrogators.

He requested that the court session be held closed door.

Chief of the Investigation Department of the Higher Criminal Court, Judge Raed Juhi, issued s statement denying the torture allegations.

An official stressed that the interrogators were abiding by human rights rules, and that the defendants were receiving good and humane treatment.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Defence Threatened

Najib al-Nueimi, Qatar's former minister of justice and one of the defence lawyers of Saddam Hussein, claimed that he was harassed and threatened with death by workers at Baghdad airport on Wednesday.

He claimed that when he left the airport a group of Iraqi workers threatened him, because he volunteered to defend Hussein. The American protection team, and some members of the Iraqi police, intervened to prevent the workers from approaching him.

He has asked the court for better protection for the defence team.

Saddam Grandstands Again

Saddam Hussein in court today claimed that the Bush administration had lied when it claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as well as when it disputed his claims of being beaten.


"The White House lies once more. The number-one liar in the world, they said in Iraq, there is chemicals, and there is a relation to terrorism, and they announced later we couldn't find any of that in Iraq.

Also, they said that what Saddam Hussein (said) was not true

He then spoke of his allegations , made yesterday about being beaten:

"I have documented the injuries I had before three American medical teams."

Hussein then added that the medical teams numbered "two, for sure, unequivocally."

Then, for good measure:

"We don't lie. The White House lies."

The defence have requested that the testimony of prosecution witnesses not be broadcast, until all the witnesses have testified. They claim that witnesses are watching each other's testimonies and then repeating them. The court will consider this request.

One witness who testified today from behind a curtain to protect his identity. He said that when he was 8 years that his father, three uncles and grandmother were arrested and imprisoned.

"She complained to us about what had happened to her. They used to torture her before her children and they would torture her children before her. She said, 'They tortured us, and we did not know for what reason.'"

The defence noted that he Defense was a child at the time, and that he was not arrested and did not see any torture or killings personally.

Saddam interjected too:

"His testimony is documented and accepted, and he's underage (at the time)?" This is something I would like to understand. Is this allowed? Is this permissible?"

The trial continues.

Saddam's Uniform Sold

A US Army 3rd Division Soldier has made $16K, before commission, by selling one of Saddam Hussein's uniforms via the Manion's International Auction House website.

The uniform was "liberated" from a tailor's shop soon after the arrival of US troops in Baghdad.

The identity of the bidder remains strictly confidential. However, the sale drew interest from Saudi Arabia and Mongolia, in addition to the US and Europe.

Saddam Hussein Alleges He Was Beaten

Saddam Hussein has accused US troops of beating and torturing him whilst he was in jail.

Saddam, whilst speaking at his trial yesterday, claimed that evidence of torture could be seen all over his body.

The prosecution pooh poohed the claims, saying that Saddam was relatively comfortable as his room was comfortable and air-conditioned room. They noted that many people in Baghdad have an unreliable electricity supply, which makes air conditioning the stuff of dreams.

Saddam made his claim after several hours of testimony, which included witnesses who claimed that Saddam's agents had tortured people by ripping off their skin.

One of the witnesses was al-Haidari, who stated that seven of his brothers were executed by Saddam's soldiers and that their bodies have never been found.

He told the court that he, and other residents of his village, were taken to Baghdad and thrown into a prison where people were given electric shocks and regular beatings.

Saddam then took it upon himself to speak, and claimed that he had been tortured and beaten on every part of his body, and that his seven co-defendants had also been beaten.


"I would say yes, we were beaten up. We were beaten up by Americans and we were tortured.

Every one of us.

This man when he gets up he has to hold the railing because he was beaten up badly. He was beaten badly with rifle butts on his back

The Chief Prosecutor, Jaafar al-Mousawi, said that he would investigate the claims; stating that if they were true, Saddam would be transferred to the custody of Iraqi troops.

Christopher Reid of the US embassy in Baghdad said that the claims were bogus.


"We heard Barzon al-Tikriti complaining about his treatment and saying the cigarettes I'm getting are terrible and I only get six a day, that kind of a complaint. So nowhere then was anything mentioned about being beaten or whatever.

So I think these are bogus claims, they're designed to ambush the court, and they're designed to really play on or play against some of the testimony that we've had in the case so far

Sean McCormack, State Department spokesman, said:

"I know of nothing that would substantiate such a claim. He's given to grandstanding in this trial. But where the focus should be is on the testimony of those people who were victimised".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Trial Resumes

The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed today, after a break since 7th December.

On that date Saddam did not attend, in protest at the handling of the trial. However, he is present today.

Saddam today interrupted as the first witness, Ali Mohammed Hussein al-Haydari, began giving testimony.

However, order was restored and the witness described how some of his brothers were shot by security forces, and he and his family were taken to Baath Party headquarters.


"I saw my brother being tortured in front of my eyes. I was terrified."

The trial is likely to be adjourned again tomorrow, until mid-January, because of the announcement of Iraq's December 15th National Assembly election results, holidays and the Hajj.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What's In A Name?

In a slip of the tongue President George Bush accidently revealed his inner thinking yesterday.

Bush briefly turned Osama bin Laden into Saddam Hussein.

Bush momentarily switched the names in a news conference at the White House, where he was defending his decision to authorise eavesdropping on Americans suspected of links with al Qaeda and other organisations in the U.S. war on terrorism.


"In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone and then the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak."


"And guess what happened. Saddam ...Osama bin Laden changed his behaviour. He began to change how he communicated. We're at war. And we must protect America's secrets."

Many a slip tixt cup and lip.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Count Underway

In the first full term parliamentary election, since the invasion of Iraq, millions of Iraqis voted.

The ballots are now being counted.

It is estimated that 11 million of Iraq's 15 million eligible voters took part in the vote.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is quoted as saying:

"The number of people participating is very, very high, and we have had very few irregularities. It is a good day so far, good for us, good for Iraq."

Officials say it could be at a fortnight, before the final results can be announced.

After that an agreement will then need to be brokered over the form of government, and the naming of a prime minister.

The high turnout is a positive sign that many wish to end the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled in 2003.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Saddam The Video Game

Kuma Reality Games have launched an online documentary gaming series about Saddam Hussein.

The latest installment (The Capture of Saddam: Operation Red Dawn) takes gamers through the town of Adwar, as they "search" for Saddam in his "spider hole."

The previous episode recreated the events that led to Saddam's war crimes trial.

Both episodes are available at

Keith Halper, CEO of Kuma Reality Games, is quoted as saying:

"These missions allow people to educate themselves on international events that have shaped our history, while providing a dynamic forum for further exploration and discussion."

A cynic might suggest that those who play the games have little interest in educating themselves, they are merely playing them for the "buzz" that they get.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Saddam's Nephew Goes To Jail

Aymen Sabawi, Saddam Hussein's nephew and former regime insider and terrorist supporter, was found guilty in a Baghdad court on December 5th of illegally crossing the Syrian border without authorisation from Iraqi customs.

Sabawi has had a 15 year sentence handed down, on top of a 6 year sentence that he received during a September trial in which he was found guilty of possessing illegal weapons and manufacturing explosive devices.

This means that Sabawi will not be released from prison for more than 20 years.

Sabawi and members of his family have allegedly played an active role in sustaining terrorism in Iraq; by providing financial support, weapons and explosives.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 indicted the Sabawi family for stealing millions of dollars from the Iraqi people during Saddam Hussein's regime.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What A Shambles!

The trial of Saddam Hussein, heralded with a fanfare back in 2003 by the US, is now beginning to look like a kangaroo court set up by rank amateurs.

The cost to date, incurred by the US Regime Crimes liaison Office, is $128M.

What do they have to show for their money?
  • A defendant who won't appear

  • A trial only covering one small aspect of Saddam's time in office

  • Murdered lawyers and threats to the remaining members of court

  • A shortage of interpreters, the media have to supply their own

  • Mismatched desks for defence counsel benches, and poorly hung curtains hiding witnesses

  • No court record

  • No stenographers to produce a transcript

  • Witnesses whose testimony sounds barely credible

  • There is even a very real possibility that Saddam could get off
Nehal Bhuta, an international justice expert with Human Rights Watch, said:

"We have always had concerns that the writing was on the wall. There are a number of serious difficulties with the tribunal ... It's a concern that the necessary experience is just not there."

Was the invasion really all for this?

People should hang their heads in shame over this farce. This trial, unless it is taken in hand swiftly, will not provide Iraq with a firm foundation for its future; it will merely create more instability in that already blighted country.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Lawyers Threatened

According to ex-US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Khalil Dulaimi (Saddam's chief lawyer), three men threatened Dulaimi as he boarded a plane from Baghdad to Jordan yesterday.

The men were removed from the flight.

Dulaimi said that he believed that one of them was an Iraqi security official.


"I saw three miserable people, one of them was daring airport security and some of the officers there. It seemed he was a man backed (by influential people) and affiliated with one of the security apparatus.

I asked airport security to check his identity and they did. His name is with us. I believe he sought to assassinate me, or assassinate the defence team


"We appeal for intervention from the United Nations to ensure a fair and honest trial, considering this miserable security situation."

Clark said:

"There were three people that threatened him (Dulaimi) directly and they were planning to board the plane. The security people removed them."

Clark also added that other lawyers have also received threats in the Baghdad courtroom during Saddam's trial.


"There were threats even at the court, on the balcony, there were three people making threats during the trial. I didn't personally receive any threat, or see anyone follow me".

It is believed that the threats came from individuals affiliated with the Iraqi interior ministry.

How can the "new" Iraq hope to build a stable foundation for the future, if the trial of its former dictator is conducted under these circumstances?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Saddam Boycotts Trial

Saddam Hussein, having walked out of his own trial on Tuesday with a verbal flourish of "go to hell!", has continued to boycott the trial.

Yesterday's hearing started four hours late, as the remaining performers in this "soap" discussed how to continue without the main defendant.

Once underway, the court heard from a male witness, voice disguised, who claimed to have been arrested following the assassination attempt against Saddam in Dujail.

He spoke of beatings in a Baghdad intelligence prison, and said Saddam's half-brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti was present at one point.

However, he admitted that he had been blindfolded and had been told by other detainees that it was Barzan who spoke.

Another witness described the round-up of people in Dujail:

"They told us they wanted to speak to us for 10 minutes. We were gone for four and a half years."

The trial has now been adjourned until 21 December.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Saddam Refuses To Attend Trial

Saddam Hussein is refusing to enter court to attend trial today.

He is complaining about the conditions in which he is being held, and how the trial is being conducted.

On Tuesday he told the judges to "go to hell", and stated that he would not return to an "unjust" court.

Additionally, a man arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill the top trial investigator has been freed by gunmen.

Negotiations are now under way on how the trial can proceed, with the defence team holding talks with the chief judge.

Under Iraqi law the trial can continue without the defendant present in the court room.

It is speculated that arrangements will be made for Saddam to watch the trial on a closed circuit TV link, with the right to intervene at certain points.

The chaos continues.

Witness A and B

Witness A, her voice disguised electronically, gave evidence yesterday in the ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein.

She said that at the age of sixteen, she had been stripped naked in what she called an "operation room" and chained to a table.

She alleges that 5 men beat her with steel cables and gave her electric shocks.

After that she claims that she and the other Dujail families were sent to the desert, where they lived for 4 years.


"We lost everything. All my youth is gone. Our future is gone."

However, the senior judge said to her:

"The details you are giving now are different from those you gave when your examination took place."

"This is true," she answered.

The defence note that some of the prosecution witnesses have a financial interest in the case, since they are also looking for financial compensation for what happened to them.

Then the leading defence counsel acting for Saddam Hussein questioned her.

She had been held in Abu Ghraib prison, he said, where he agreed that conditions had been terrible until just recently.

But had dogs been used against her? Were photographs taken of her?

No, she said.

This reminded people of the way that prisoners in Abu Ghraib were treated by their American jailers, after the invasion of Iraq.

There seems to be an almost a wistful, and misplaced, yearning in the minds of some for a return to the days of Saddam.

The next witness, an elderly woman - witness B, went into the curtained booth to give her evidence and had her voice disguised as well.

However, the electronics failed again and she was brought into the middle of the court to speak.

She couldn't be seen and identified, and the sound feed was cut off to the press box.

Other witnesses gave evidence about the 1982 visit by Saddam to the town of Dujail, and the assassination attempt on him was carried out.

Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti interrupted:

"Those people know nothing."

Saddam also interrupted, the judge did not try to stop him:

"Who arrested you?" Saddam asked.

"Men from Intelligence."

"How do you know?"

"They said so."

"What were their names

The witness gave the names.

"Describe them."

The witness proceeded to do it.

"How come you remember all these things".

"This was a great sadness to me. I can't forget a sadness."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hidden Witness

The trial of Saddam Hussein continues today, with the first hidden witness testifying.

The witness, a woman (called witness A), addressed the court from behind a screen in order to protect her identity.

However, there were technical problems with the equipment used to disguise her voice; the court then had to recess whilst the issue was addressed.

She said that Saddam's security forces had taken her brother and broke his arms, his legs, and then shot at his feet.

The trial continues.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Trial Resumes

Saddam Hussein's trial resumed again today, after a brief suspension 90 minute suspension this morning, following the walkout by his defence team.

They returned when the court reversed its decision, banning general Clark and others from speaking, and allowed the foreign members of the team to speak.

Judge Rizkar Mohammed Amin agreed to allowing them to speak, because of the court's desire to pursue its work "in transparency, it has agreed to listen to the oral arguments of the two defense attorneys".

Clark was given five minutes to speak, and al-Nuaimi was given 16 minutes. Clark's spoke about security, while al-Nuaimi spoke about the legitimacy of the court.

Amin told them off when they "went off subject", to discuss politics.

Clark said:

"If every form of participation in the judicial process is not protected, the judicial system will fail and be destroyed. The defense can not participate in this case until there is protection in place for the lawyers and their families."

The trial then saw and heard its first living witness, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed al-Dujaili then took the stand.

He said:

"Massive forces came down to Dujail as if there was a war. I saw, by God, a scene I will never forget. I saw a machine that is like a grinder, and there was blood and hair inside."

Saddam Hussein interrupted several times, saying:

"You haven't given me pen or paper? How can I write down my ideas and notes?.."

al-Dujaili continued:

"Torture didn't exclude anyone. I was just 15 years old. I saw a women being tortured -- You took my brother but why did you take my mother and sisters?"

Saddam Hussein's Trial Suspended

The ongoing farce that is the trial of Saddam Hussein continued today, as the defence team walked out of court.

They were protesting about the fact that the presiding judge, Rizkar Mohammed Amin, refused to let former US attorney general Ramsey Clark and former Qatari justice minister Naji Nuaimi speak at the trial.

Amin said:

"Make a written request".

Clark responded:

"I just want two minutes".

The defence team then threatened to leave court, prompting Amin to say:

"As you like. Then we will have to appoint other lawyers."

Saddam at this point refused to have lawyers appointed by the court, and shouted:

"Long live Iraq. Long live the Arab nation. Long live Iraq."

Nuaimi said the court's refusal to hear the lawyers' request was "a violation of the rights of the defence", he noted that the court should examine its own legitimacy before proceeding with the trial.

Amin instructed that the defence should send him a written memo, covering any questions that they may have about the court's legitimacy, he promised to provide a written reply.

The trial is now suspended, to allow the defence to consider their next action.

I wonder if this trial could be handled any less well?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saddam To Stand For Election?

Former Qatari justice minister, Najib al-Nuaimi, is quoted as saying that Iraqis have asked Saddam Hussein's defence team to consider fielding Saddam as a candidate for future elections.


"Iraqis have asked the defence team to study the legal conditions to present Saddam Hussein as a candidate for elections, first as an MP then as president. If this contradicts the legal system then president Saddam will be nominated simply as a candidate."

Nuaimi is one of the three foreign lawyers, former US attorney general Ramsey Clark and Jordanian lawyer Issam Ghazzawi being the other two, sworn in by the Iraqi court as members of Saddam's defence at Monday's hearing.

Ghazzawi said:

"As we were leaving Iraq on Tuesday ordinary Iraqis at the airport approached us saying they wished that Saddam would return (as president). These Iraqis said 'we have lost security after Saddam, how we wish he would return'."

Whilst the idea of Saddam standing, and even winning a seat, may be attractive to those who want to humiliate Bush and Blair; it is not right that man who stifled democracy, when he was in charge, should then use it as a "get out of jail card".

More to the point, if the current trial is speeded up, Saddam may find himself facing the death penalty long before he has the opportunity to stand for election.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Odd Couple

In a rather bizarre twist in the ongoing saga of the Saddam Hussein's trial, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark has taken it upon himself to join the defence team.

Clark met with Saddam after the shambolic events in the court house on Monday. Clark said that Saddam was in "very good spirits."

I would venture to suggest that this is because Saddam, so far, has managed to "call the shots" in the two days that he has appeared in court.

Clark said that they were initially left alone in the room, but then they were joined by two soldiers.

Clark is quoted as saying:

"Saddam has been in total isolation. He hasn't seen a member of his family, talked to a member of his family, met with a lawyer or met with friends he has known before."


"His mind was as clear and as sharp as ever."

Do I detect a degree of admiration emanating from Clark?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Saddam's Relative Kidnapped

It is reported that unknown gunmen have abducted Dhafir Hardan al-Hazzaa, a former army officer and relative of Saddam Hussein, in Tikrit.

The abduction took place on Monday night, and was perpetrated by a group of armed men.

It seems that Iraq is destined to remain in chaos for years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Iraq's Credibility At Stake

After the shambolic scenes at Saddam Hussein's trial on Monday, where he stole the show and berated the judge and the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government has realised that its credibility is now at stake.

Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said that the trial and judgement should be "fair and just."

Zebari was speaking after meeting the French Foreign Minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, in Paris.

Zebari said that Iraq was doing its utmost to ensure Saddam's trial would take place with "the greatest transparency and justice."


"This trial is extremely important for the political and security situation in Iraq. I think we took a long time organizing it. We insist on doing it with the greatest transparency and justice."

Douste-Blazy said that the trial was "the opportunity for the Iraqi people to shine the light on all the crimes and injustices that are attributed to him."

The trouble is, if the Monday's events are anything to go by, it is clear that Nuremberg it isn't!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Witness From Beyond The Grave

The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed yesterday, needless to say the Saddam could not resist a touch of bravado.

Saddam berated Rizgar Amin, the presiding judge, over his (Saddam's) alleged ill-treatment at the hands of guards.

Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney-General, attended the trial in order to ensure that there's fair play.


"My plan is to go to the court in Baghdad Monday morning, representing the Defence Counsel in this particular situation, who are threatened with death".

Clark wants the trial to be held outwith Iraq.

Before proceedings could get underway, Saddam lectured the court about the invasion; quote:

"They are in our country. You, you have the authority. You have sovereignty, you are Iraqi and they are westerners and they are invaders and occupiers."

He also had a complaint about the fact that the broken elevator, in the court, had meant that he had to walk up four flights of stairs.

Saddam was also miffed at having his pen and paper taken away by the guards, the judge ordered that he be given something to write with.

Judge Amin called on the prosecution to present its case against. The first trial relates to the 1982 massacre of more than 140 Shi'ites in the village of Dujail, allegedly murdered in response to a botched assassination attempt on Saddam.

The first prosecution witness, Waddah al-Sheikh a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, spoke from a pre recorded video tape; as he had died in hospital from cancer.

Al-Sheikh described how more than 400 men, women and children from Dujail, were rounded in response to gunmen opening fire on Saddam's motorcade.


"And I was confident through the interrogation that those who shot at the motorcade were no more than 12 people, and I don't know why they arrested that large number of citizens and I had no role in the arrest. "

The other 35 living witnesses will give testimony from behind a curtain, in order to protect them from assassination. It should be noted that the Chief Judge has also received death threats.

The trial has been adjourned until next week.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Trial Resumes

The trial of Saddam Hussein has resumed today, amidst tight security.

He, and seven henchmen, are facing charges of murder and torture.

To date, two defence lawyers have been murdered; and the chief investigator and many witnesses have received death threats.

The trial is taking place in Baghdad's "green zone".

The trial began on October 19, and was adjourned for 40 days in order to give the defence more time to prepare.

Saddam has pleaded "not guilty", if he is found guilty he faces the death penalty.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Saddam's Uniform For Sale

Those of you with a penchant for collecting uniforms and military memorabilia, may find one of the items for sale at Manion's International Auction House to be of interest.

It is a dress uniform owned by Saddam Hussein.

The uniform will be placed in the company's "gold auction".

John Conway, a representative for Manion's Auction, said:

"This is the second Hussein uniform we have presented for auction since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first was brought back by an Army NCO and sold for $24K."

The uniform was obtained by an army sergeant, during the first night that US troops gained control of Baghdad International Airport. The uniform was taken from a tailor shop, and was among many suits and outfits designed for Hussein.

The company will donate a percentage of the commission from this uniform to a charitable concern.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Court TV

Court TV will offer an online coverage of Saddam Hussein's trial when it resumes next Monday.

It is scheduled to air from roughly 0900 to 1400 GMT, with on-demand highlight clips also available.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Genocide Trial

Frans van Anraat, a Dutchman, will go on trial on Monday on charges of complicity in genocide.

He is accused of supplying the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with chemicals used in attacks on Kurdish villages in the 1980s.

He claims that the supplies were legitimate business deals.

It is alleged that the gas was used in attacks on the villages of Halabja, Goptata, Birjinni and Zewa. The Dutch prosecutors claim that these attacks were intended to wipe out the ethnic Kurdish population, in whole or in part, and constitute genocide.

A verdict is expected in late December.

Van Anraat once topped the CIA's most wanted list, and was detained at the request of the US in Italy in 1989. He was released by an Italian judge who ruled the charges were politically motivated.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Saddam Assault Denied

The claim that Saddam Hussein was punched several times, by court officials, after he cursed two Shi'ite Islam saints has been denied by the court officials.

The chief prosecutor, Jaafar al-Mousawi, is quoted as saying:

"No one in the court attacked Saddam or punished him, and we will never allow anyone in the court to harm any of the defendants, whether it is Saddam or someone else..."

Saddam's lawyers have yet to comment on this counterclaim.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Saddam's Nephew Wanted

The Iraqi Attorney General, Chathanfar Hmod Al-Jasim, has presented Interpol with an extradition request to bring Omar Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's nephew, back from Yemen to Baghdad.

The Iraqi's want him to stand trial for "committing acts of terror".

Omar Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti is alleged to have played a leading role, and to have provided financial support, to terrorist organisations.

The Iraqi government said:

"His efforts resulted in many deaths, injuries and destruction of property"

Omar's father, Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti, former director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, is awaiting trial for committing crimes against humanity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Saddam Assaulted

It is reported that during interrogation, Saddam Hussein, was assaulted by his interegators.

Saddam was being questioned about the suppression of the 1991 Shiite uprising. He allegedly hurled an obscenity at two of Shiite Islam's holiest figures.

He was asked about the shrines of the imams Hussein and Abbas, that were targeted by government forces seizing back control of Karbala. It is alleged that at first he pretended at first not to know to whom the investigative judges were referring.

He then swore, at which point two of court's clerks taking notes allegedly lunged at him and started pummeling him with blows.

The beating was stopped, only after the chief judge intervened.

Saddam was allegedly left with a minor bruise to the forehead, the US guards posted outside the makeshift courthouse near Baghdad international airport were said to be amused and opted not to intervene.

It seems that Iraq has still some way to go before it rids itself of the brutality, and habit of brutality, of the past.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Saddam's Trial Still On

Saddam Hussein's trial will be restarted on schedule, on the 28th of November, despite the murder of two of his defence team.

Raid Juhi, one of the judges on the special tribunal trying Saddam, says that the court is ready to appoint a new team if lawyers fail to appear.

This may well be necessary, as Saddam's team have already said that they will withdraw due to inadequate protection.

Juhi is quoted as saying:

"We have many legal experts and lawyers, and (the court) will choose from among them".

Monday, November 14, 2005

Saddam's Aide Reported Dead

A Ba'ath party website has stated that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the deputy of Saddam Hussein is dead.

The statement on the website said:

"On the soil of Arabic Iraq, the soul of Comrade Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri returned to God the Creator on Friday at dawn."

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was 61 years old, and was deputy chief of the Iraqi armed forces; he was reportedly one of Saddam's most trusted confidants.

Ibrahim was the most senior member of the former regime still at large, and his whereabouts were unknown.

The US military had put a $10M reward on his head.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lawyers To Boycott Trial

The trial of Saddam Hussein is scheduled to restart on the 28th. However, this date may have to be changed.

It is reported that Saddam Hussein's defence team are asking for international security guarantees, after the murder of the second member of their team on Tuesday.

The lawyers are asking for a cancellation of the second day of hearings, set for November 28.

Lead counsel Khalil Al Dulaimi is quoted as saying:

"We're facing daily threats and these threats prevent us from going to our offices and the court and from interviewing the witnesses.

We call on the international community, the UN Security Council, the United States and all those involved to work on scrapping the criminal court as illegitimate, and also to pressure it to release President Saddam Hussein and his legitimate leadership team.

The defence committee has decided to consider the Nov. 28 date cancelled and illegitimate

The question is, who is behind the murders?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Defence Lawyer Killed

It seems that working as a defence lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial is not a safe occupation.

Adel al-Zubeidi, who was representing former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, was shot to death and attorney Thamir al-Khuzaie was wounded in an ambush by 3 gunmen in a speeding car yesterday.

This is the second assassination of a lawyer associated with the trial, Saadoun al-Janabi was abducted and killed on 20th October. The defence team were already worried about their security, and had announced that they would not cooperate with the special court trying Saddam until security was assured.

Saddam's chief lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, blamed the government for Tuesday's attack; he claimed that the assassins had used government vehicles.


"The aim of these organized attacks is to scare Arab and foreign lawyers. We call upon the international community, on top of them the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to send an investigative committee because the situation is unbearable."

He has requested that Saddam and his colleagues be moved to a neutral country.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, said that Iraqi government needs "to reassess whether the conditions guaranteeing rights of every defendant exist."


"It is clear that whatever the government is doing is not working and is not adequate. They have to go back and figure out how to create conditions necessary for a fair trail, above all the safety of the defense team."

It is now being questioned as to whether the trial will resume on 28th November, as had been originally planned.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heads Start To Roll

Whilst the world awaits the restart of Saddam Hussein's trial, others are now being judged and found guilty for associating with him.

Natwar Singh, India's foreign minister, was stripped of his post yesterday; over allegations that he benefited illegally from the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq.

He is the first head, of many I suspect, that will roll as a result of the fall out from the Volcker Report that revealed massive corruption in the effort to help Iraqis suffering under sanctions.

Volcker, has accused more than 2,200 companies and prominent politicians worldwide of colluding with Saddam Hussein's regime to milk the oil-for-food program of $1.8BN in kickbacks and illicit surcharges.

The oil-for-food program, theoretically, allowed Iraq to sell limited and then unlimited quantities of oil; as long as most of the money was used to buy humanitarian goods to help ordinary Iraqis cope with UN sanctions, imposed after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Needless to say, Saddam's government chose all the oil buyers and goods suppliers. A clear control risk, that the UN had they be competent/honest should have stopped.

India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, demoted Singh to minister without portfolio.

Singh and the ruling Congress party of India are alleged in the report to have benefited from the $64BN oil-for-food program, they are named as a "non-contractual beneficiary."

We can expect further high profile casualties in the coming weeks and months.

Benon Sevan, the program's executive director, is being investigated for allegedly accepting kickbacks.

French judges are investigating 10 French officials, including former UN ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee, and business leaders under suspicion.

It seems to me that the UN was "naive" at best to think that this program would work, without the appropriate regulatory checks and balances. I turst that heads will roll there too.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Saddam's Guard On The Run

Isaac Meti Yosef Jago, one of Saddam Hussein's former palace bodyguards, is reportedly on the run in Wellington after allegedly defrauding an Auckland doctor of $129,500.

Jago allegedly tricked an Iraqi doctor, Haider Jasim, and his wife into handing over a cheque to buy a Mercedes.

Dr Jasim was approached by Jago offering a deal on a new S500 Mercedes from Auckland luxury car dealer, Coutts Cars.

He claimed that he could get a $55K discount on the car.

Jago was given a cheque for $129,500 made out to Coutts Car Services, the name he specified. Dr Jasim was given a receipt, and an agreement for sale of the car with Coutts Cars' name and stamp on it.

Allegedly Jago had opened a Kiwibank account, under the name Coutts Car Services, and had banked the cheque and then withdrawn all the money two days later.

Jago's landlord said he left for Wellington two weeks ago. Three men had collected his furniture.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Officers From Saddam's Army To Re-enlist

The Iraqi government has called for the return of junior officers from Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to join up again.

This directly contradicts the American directive, issued in 2003.

The rationale being that the current security forces in Iraq need to be boosted.

Former officers, up to the rank of major, are eligible for reinstatement by applying in November at recruitment centres in six cities across Iraq.

The dissolution of the 400,000 Iraqi Army, in May 2003, is widely regarded by many to have been a terrible mistake.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The House of Saddam

Dictators, especially fallen dictators, make excellent subjects for films and TV.

Saddam Hussein is no exception, the BBC are planning to make a TV drama about his rise and fall.

The title of the drama is expected to be "House of Saddam", and will focus on how Saddam and his entourage seized power and held on to it for so long.

It will begin with his rise to power in Iraq in the late 70's and follow the story through until his capture, hiding in a hole in the ground, after the overthrow of his regime in December 2003.

The drama will tell Saddam's story from the perspective of Saddam's inner circle, rather than a western perspective.

The writer, Alex Holmes, seems from his quotes to be rather enamoured of Saddam:

"It's more to do with the fall and why he failed. He had a vision, which was to create a great Arab nation and write himself into the history books as a great leader who would be remembered in hundreds of years time.

But his own flaws and the tactics these failings forced him to rely on meant he never came near to achieving this vision, and instead dragged his country into misery and pain.

I want to tell the story from the perspective of the people inside his inner circle and understand how they saw the world and why they did what they did


"We are trying to understand their world and reassure them that we want to tell the story from their perspective - from the inside out, not a western viewpoint."

The four part drama is expected to be aired in 2006.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Saddam's Secret Exile Plan

It seems that Saddam Hussein had secretly accepted a last-minute plan to go into exile to avert the 2003 Iraq invasion.

However, it is reported that Arab leaders vetoed the proposal.

The UAE President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit weeks before the invasion began in March 2003.

However, the Arab League refused to consider the initiative; even though the US had indicated that it supported the idea.

I wonder if they now regret their decision?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Request To Move Trial To The Hague

Najib al-Nawimi, a defence lawyer for Saddam Hussein, has written to the Secretary General of The UN Kofi Annan asking for the trial to be moved to The Hague.

He additionally asked that the Iraqi judges replaced by foreign ones.


"We submit to you our request for your involvement and your good office in the present circumstances to call upon the US authority and the present government of Iraq to review the legal status of the present court and to reallocate the present court outside Iraq, i.e. The Hague, Netherlands."

He asked for the court to be given "independent and impartial international judges", and for Saddam and his co-defendants to be treated as prisoners of war.

Nawimi noted that prosecutors "did not hand over to the defence team a copy of the accusation list, neither granted us a proper access to our clients nor to have sufficient time as we had requested (for) three months,".

H also vented his worries over the safety of the defence team, in the light of the murder of Saadun Janabi.


"We are in a very dangerous situation where the present Iraqi government has no control over our security to attend and participate in such a trial."

Oil For Food Scandal

It seems that over 2000 international companies, and many well known politicians, had a hand in illegally supporting Saddam Hussein.

This is the conclusion of the final report on the UN oil-for-food programme.

The report runs to 623 pages, and exposes the global scam that allegedly involved such companies as DaimlerChrysler and Siemens.

The report shows that the $64BN programme was used by Saddam to prop up his regime, at the expense of his own people.

The UN and member countries of the UN are blamed for allowing this corruption to go unchecked for years.

Paul Volcker, a former US Federal Reserve chairman who led the investigation, said that the report underscored the urgent need to reform the United Nations.

Companies from Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, Belarus, Syria, Canada and many other places paid illegal kickbacks. Many businesses in the developing world made large payments to get humanitarian contracts.

The question is, will these people be standing trial with Saddam?

I won't be holding my breath.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lawyers Stop Work

The lawyers acting for Saddam Hussein have stopped working with the Iraqi court hearing the case, in response to the murder of one of their colleagues.

The lawyers demand that the Iraqi government provide them with 15 bodyguards each.

Apparently, both sides in the dispute are now negotiating terms that will satisfy both the court and the defence team.

The lawyers also claimed that the rights of Saddam, and his seven co-defendants, were being violated. Something I am sure that Saddam never worried about, when he was in charge of the "justice system".

Part of the reason for this "downing of tools", aside from fear for their lives, may be a tactical ploy; designed to delay the trial for as long as possible, until Iraq is involved in a fully fledged civil war.

That being the case, holding the trial would be all but impossible.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

UN Action Sought

Defence lawyers in the trial of Saddam Hussein have appealed for UN protection, in the wake of the murder of Saadun Janabi and for a UN investigation into the murder.

They have made a direct written appeal to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

The letter was signed by; former Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella, former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, French former foreign minister Roland Dumas and former US attorney general Ramsey Clark.

The letter states that the failure of US and Iraqi officials "to provide protection to the defense and access to the defendants requires the transfer of any trials to a legal international forum if there is to be fairness in appearance and fact."

A British based lawyer on Saddam's team, Abdul Haq Al-Ani, has told the BBC that the court's jurisdiction must be dealt with before the trial continues.

In a rather bizarre piece of grandstanding Saleh Armuti, another lawyer working for Saddam, said that he wants to put George Bush on trial "at the same time as the fake trial takes place in Iraq."

No doubt this gives him some free publicity, but it hardly adds credibility to his defence case.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Witness Testifies

Wadaah al-Sheikh, a former Iraqi intelligence officer, gave testimony yesterday in the trial of Saddam Hussein from his sick bed in hospital.

Sheikh has cancer, and was a senior officer in the investigations and evidence unit at the Hakmiya intelligence building in Baghdad in 1982.

Defence lawyers, fearful for their lives following the murder of one of their colleagues Saadoun Janabi, refused to attend the testimony.

It is clear that safety of all parties in this trial will have to be guaranteed, if the trial and its outcome is to be seen to be fair and above reproach.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Defence Lawyer Murdered

Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi, the kidnapped defence lawyer acting for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants, was found dumped in the street with two bullet wounds in the head; only hours after gunmen, dressed as security forces, took him from his office.

Needless to say, the remaining defence team demanded that the trial be delayed or moved out of Iraq.

It is far from clear as to which group of people were responsible for the murder; Hussein opponents, Sunni insurgents or Hussein supporters are all possibilities.

The trial is set to resume on November 28th; the defence want it postponed beyond that date, if the investigations into the murder are not finished.

Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said that after the kidnapping that defence lawyers had been threatened in recent weeks by e-mail, mobile phone text messages, and telephone calls.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lawyer Kidnapped

In a plot now resembling something out of John Le Carre novel, one of the lawyers of one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was kidnapped yesterday.

Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi was dragged out of his office on Thursday by 10 masked gunmen.

Police Major Falah al-Mohammedawi, of the Interior Ministry, said:

"Police special forces started search operations early this morning in the suspected areas around Sadr city in eastern Baghdad. We hope to find the hostage as soon as possible."

Al-Janabi is one of two attorneys for Awad Hamed al-Bandar, one of the seven Baath Party officials being tried with Saddam.

After the opening session of Saddam's trial, where he questioned the legitimacy of the trial, it was been suspended until November 28th.

However, the court will interview Wadah Ismail al-Sheik, a bedridden cancer patient who helped run Iraq's intelligence agency on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saddam Pleads Not Guilty

As day one of Saddam Hussein's trial began, he has entered a plea of not guilty.

In a bravura performance Saddam questioned the validity of the court, pleaded not guilty and told the presiding judge:

"Who are you? What does this court want?"

All of the 8 defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of ordering the killing of 143 Shia men in 1982.

The trial was adjourned until 28 November, after just three hours.

Saddam's defence team requested a postponement, in order to prepare their case. However, the chief judge contradicted this by noting that witnesses had not shown up.

Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin said:

"They were too scared to be public witnesses. We're going to work on this issue for the next sessions."

The trial was held in the ex National Command Headquarters of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

As he was led into the court, Saddam gestured to slow them down.

When asked to confirm his name by the chief judge, Saddam refused.


"I preserve my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq. I do not recognise the body that has authorised you and I don't recognise this aggression.

What is based on injustice is unjust ... I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect

As the trial adjourned, Saddam became involved in a scuffle (probably staged for media benefit) with the guards who wanted to grab his arms to escort his out.

If the Iraqis and Americans had hoped for a bloodied and bowed performance, they will have been severely disappointed.

Saddam Hussein's Trial Starts

The trial of Saddam Hussein starts today.

He will face charges relating to the deaths of 143 Shi'ite Muslims in 1982.

It is expected that the trial will be adjourned almost immediately, as Saddam's defence will plead that they have not had enough time to study 800 pages of evidence against him.

The defence will also plead that the court has no jurisdiction because it was set up by an unelected body, the Iraqi Governing Council.

Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done; otherwise the regime change will have been for nothing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Constitutional Result Delayed

Iraq has had to delay the announcement of results from its referendum on a new constitution, as the country's electoral commission has had to recheck ballots.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said that is "needs several more days to complete this difficult and complex operation after finding that the figures from most provinces were too high."


"This will require re-examination, comparison and verification because they are relatively high compared with international averages for elections. The commission will only announce results when they have been verified."

The commission said that 6 majority Shiite provinces in Southern Iraq had voted by more than 90% in favour of the constitution. However, 2 Sunni dominated provinces seem to have rejected it by 80% and 54%.

This means that the result will not be out before the start of Saddam Hussein's trial tomorrow.

The path to democracy is never easy.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Saddam's Human Rights

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed their concerns about limits on the ability of Saddam Hussein, who goes on trial this Wednesday, to mount a defence, the burden of proof, political sway over the court and use of the death penalty.

Human Rights Watch issued a report yesterday stating:

"We have grave concerns that the court will not provide the fair trial guarantees required by international law. The proceedings must be fair and be seen to be fair, and that means ensuring that the accused can vigorously defend themselves."

Amnesty International, issued a report earlier in the year with similar concerns.

Both groups will monitor the trial.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Iraq Constitutional Vote

Iraq goes to the polls today, to vote on the proposed new constitution.

Security is very tight, all traffic is banned, voting stations opened at 7 am and are due to close at 5 pm.

Some opinion polls suggest that the constitution will be ratified. In which case, the voters in December will be able to elect a fully empowered four year parliament.

A ratified constitution will hopefully stabilise the country.

Friday, October 14, 2005

British Lawyer To Defend Saddam Hussein

It seems that Anthony Scrivener QC, a top British lawyer, may defend Saddam Hussein in his forthcoming trial which starts on the 19th of October.

Anthony Scrivener QC, who helped free four wrongly convicted Irish prisoners known as the Guildford Four, will travel to Baghdad to represent Saddam.

Although it is confirmed that Scrivener has been approached to take the job, it is still not yet clear as to whether he has accepted the role.

Senior clerk at Scrivener's chambers, Martin Hart, is quoted as saying:

"Mr. Scrivener has been approached by the people involved in the case but it is wrong to say that he has been instructed on the case."

He added:

"He cannot comment about any case, whether it be Saddam Hussein or Mrs Mop, even if he has not yet taken it. There is a possibility he might take this case, so it would be inappropriate to comment."

The legal team, who will defend Saddam, has been put together by Iraqi born barrister Abdul Haq Al Ani.

Al Ani reportedly told the BBC:

"He (Saddam) is in high spirits and he is very defiant. The man is very, very tough mentally."

The basis of the defence's case will be the argument that any executions approved of by Saddam were no different to the approval given by a US governor, under similar circumstances.

It is noted that President George W. Bush approved of 152 executions when he was governor of Texas.

The defence will also argue that, as head of state, Saddam enjoyed full immunity.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Trial

Saddam, and seven co-defendants, will go on trial on the 19th of October; if all goes according to plan.

There will be no jury, instead there will be three judges.

The chief judge will be able to question witnesses.

The US have stated that the Iraqi judges have received special training from American, British and Australian experts. They will also have access to help from international advisers during the trial.

Saddam will have the right to call witnesses and, if convicted, he will have the right to lodge appeals before any sentence is carried out.

If he is sentenced to death, as seems highly likely, he must be executed within 30 days of the ruling on his last appeal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Saddam Has The Vote

It seems that Iraqi law will allow Saddam Hussein, and thousands of other Iraqi detainees who have not been brought to trial, to vote in this weekend's constitutional referendum.

Abdul Hussein Hindawi, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq, said that it was still waiting for a full list from the Interior Ministry and the US-led coalition of the detainees who should be allowed to receive ballots and vote on Saturday at Abu Ghraib prison and several other US detention centers.


"All non-convicted detainees have the right to vote. That includes Saddam and other former government officials. They will vote."

The vote on Saturday is crucial for Iraq, and may hold the key to defusing the already highly charged atmosphere in Iraq between Sunnis and Shias.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Saddam's Lawyer Tries To Stop Trial

Khalil Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein's lawyer, is trying to stop the trial of Saddam starting on the 19th of October.

He has filed petitions challenging the date of Saddam's trial and the jurisdiction of the Special Iraqi Tribunal.

Khalil Dulaimi was served a written notification from the special court, on the 25th of September, designating October the 19th as the starting date.

Dulaimi has challenged the date of the trial, on the basis of two weeks notice not being enough time to review the documents and evidence.

He is trying to extend the review period to 45 days.

Additionally, Dulaimi has filed a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Iraqi Special Tribunal.

Somehow or other, I think that he does not stand much chance with these petitions; the verdict, I suspect, has already been reached.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Trial May Never Happen

Salem Hussein, the nephew of Ahmed Chalabi and Iraq's former Special Tribunal Director, gave an address to the American Enterprise Unit in which he said that:

"Saddam Hussein may never come to trial".

Saddam's defence team believe that the Iraqi Special Tribunal is illegitimate.

Additionally, the worsening security situation in Iraq will hinder the ability of the government to hold the trial there.

Indeed, Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war; in that event it will be all but impossible to hold the trial there.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Psychic Claims $25M

A Brazilian court is considering that claim of a psychic, that the U.S. government owes him a $25M reward for information that he says he provided on the hiding place of Saddam Hussein.

Brazil's Superior Court of Justice ruled that the Brazilian justice system could rule on the matter, and told a court in the psychic's home state of Minas Gerais to judge the case.

The claimant, Jucelino da Luz, alleges that the U.S. armed forces only found Saddam based on his letters that provided his exact location.

Da Luz sent letters to the U.S. government from September 2001; describing Saddam's future hiding place, a tiny cellar at a farmhouse near Tikrit. He never received a reply.

In the event that his claim is upheld, it will be sent via diplomatic channels to the U.S. State Department.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Saddam's Trial May Be Delayed

It seems that Saddam Hussein's trial, scheduled to start on the 19th of October, may have to be delayed.

That at least is the possibility according to an unnamed British official, who said that the trial may have to be postponed until after the December elections in Iraq.

It appears that the reason for the proposed delay is not one of politics, but of safety and logistics.

The official noted that bullet proof screens and witness protection programmes had to be provided.


"I think there are some logistical problems. There are a lot of things they haven't got round to yet."

He also noted that security forces are preparing for an upsurge in violence ahead of the elections. None of which augurs well for holding a trial.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Palace Returned To Iraqi People

The U.S. Army is returning one of Saddam Hussein's presidential complex, 136 buildings overlooking the Tigris River, to Iraq's government.

The complex is going to be turned into a 5-star hotel, so long as a civil war does not break out.

The Tikrit complex is equipped with crystal chandeliers, marble stairs and huge bathrooms with sunken baths; there is even an indoor waterfall cascading over private grottoes.

The U.S. forces occupied palaces and other Saddam regime compounds after the invasion in spring 2003.

As part of a major pr exercise, to show that the Americans are not an occupying power, the exercise of transfer was started last year.

Unfortunately, the speed of return is dependent on the level of violence in Iraq.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Trial Date Confirmed

The special tribunal, set up to try Saddam Hussein, has confirmed that the trial will commence on October 19.

However, they have added a caveat, namely that they have the right to delay the trial "when there are good reasons."

Saddam's lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, has indicated that he will file for a delay when he appears in court on October 19.

He claims that he has not had enough time to prepare for the trial, and to review the evidence against his client. However, Iraqi officials say that he has been given sufficient time in accordance with Iraqi law.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Judges Chosen For Saddam's Trial

Five judges have been chosen for the trial of Saddam Hussein, due to start on the 19th of October.

Saddam's Iraqi lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi, said that Saddam's rights had been seriously violated throughout the legal process.


"We have not been duly informed about any certain date for a trial. The defence has not been enabled to review any files of the charges or even any paper of investigation, despite the fact that we have made many and repeated requests to this effect."

However, another source said last month that Dulaimi had been given access to all prosecution documents and to his client whenever he requested.

Saddam faces the death penalty if convicted.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Trial On Schedule

Ibrahim Jaafari, the Iraqi Prime Minister, said that he expects that the trial of Saddam Hussein will start on scheduled on October 19th.

He is quoted as saying:

"Saddam's trial date is scheduled for October 19 and it is not possible to postpone this case which has already been pending for too long".


"Given that judicial authorities are independent we will not be interfering, but we have asked them to deal speedily, but without rashness, with the case".

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Violated Rights

Curtis FJ Doebbler, an international human rights lawyer who is among a group of lawyers trying to get official status to represent Saddam Hussein, has stated that he believes that Saddam's legal rights have been violated.

Doebbler unofficially represents Saddam, on a pro bono basis.

Doebbler says that the most basic violation is the fact that Saddam didn't have the right to choose his own legal representation.


"It is true that I am willing to represent him and it is true that there are other much more senior lawyers than myself that have expressed themselves as being willing to represent him. But to be able to represent an individual you must be chosen by that individual.

We do not believe there can a fair trial in these circumstances

Doebbler is also questioning the legality of the whole trial, he notes that in his view the invasion of Iraq was illegal; therefore, a court formed under an illegal occupation is considered invalid under international law.


"We start with an illegal situation and now they have violated almost every one of the due process rights of the president. They have not allowed him the most basic of those rights: the right to legal representation."

However, the fact of the matter is that the trial will go ahead on 19th of October; whether Doebbler likes it or not.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Thales Denies Arms Link

Thales SA, the French military electronics group, has denied allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes and sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein.

Michel Josserand, former chief executive of Thales Engineering and Consulting THEC, made the allegations.

He alleged that the paying of bribes by Thales was widespread, this of course violates French law and international conventions.


"I estimate that Thales must pay out between 1 percent and 2 percent of its global revenue in illegal commissions,".

He also alleged that Thales had "sidestepped the (U.N.) Oil for Food Program and delivered chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein's government."

Josserand has alleged that Thales took part in the construction of an Iraqi chemical-weapons plant, disguised as a factory that made powdered milk.

Thales are currently being investigated by police.

Thales have denied the allegations.


"The Thales Group formally denies accusations of corruption in France and internationally, lodged against it by a former manager at THEC".

Thales spokesman, Christophe Robin, said that the company also "categorically and totally" denied the allegations concerning.


"We never broke the embargo. Thales does not produce chemical weapons. Thales completely denies these unfounded and dishonest allegations."

Thales then went on to say that it had "decided to take immediate legal action for defamation against the French daily newspaper Le Monde and Michel Josserand."


"The group would like to point out that these allegations have been made by a former manager of this subsidiary, who was dismissed by the group for irregularities committed as part of a contract for the Nice tramway. Furthermore, the group itself lodged a complaint regarding corruption during this project."

Josserand believes that his life is now in danger.

He also noted that "Thales was only following the practices of the major U.S. companies".

Call me cynical, but the more "air time" given to Saddam Hussein in the form of a series of trials; the more likely other embarrassing allegations will come to the surface about Western companies and politicians, and their relationship with Saddam.

The pressure will surely be on the Iraqi government to hold just one short trial, and to pronounce and execute the death sentence.

Or am I being too cynical?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Saddam Hussein To Be Moved To Colorado

Saddam Hussein will be moving to Fort Carson in Colorado this Autumn.

Well rather a lifesize mannequin of Saddam will be making the move.

The 4th Infantry Division is to move its home base from Fort Hood to Fort Carson; and will take the mannequin with them, that is currently on display in their museum at Fort Hood.

The dummy is on display in the museum because the 4th Infantry soldiers played a role in the capture of the real Saddam Hussein.

It shows Saddam when he was caught in a spider hole on an Iraqi farm, surrounded by soldiers from the division, with unkempt hair and a beard.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Iran's Indictment

Iran has finalised a formal indictment against Saddam Hussein.

The indictment has been prepared by the Public Persecutor's Office, and will be sent to Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi for the final endorsement after being signed by Prosecutor General Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabad.

Ayatollah Shahroudi criticised the Iraqi court, prosecuting Saddam; for failing to address his alleged crimes and violations of human rights in the early years of the 1980-88 war against Iran, and his continued atrocities over the next eight years.

He noted that the Iraqi indictment was "very poor, scanty and lacked Saddam's true crimes".

He called on the court to provide a "real indictment", by including all crimes committed by Saddam.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rules Of The Game Changed

Iraqi legislators have changed the rules of the game, in respect of the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein.

They have now ensured that Saddam cannot represent himself.

The original rules for the trial, which were adopted in December 2003 when the US was running Iraq, allowed for Saddam "to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing."

The Iraqi National Assembly now only give Saddam the right "to procure legal counsel of his choosing."

The rule change is designed to try to rid Iraq and Washington of the spectre of Banquo's ghost, whereby Saddam could have used his right of self-representation to make political propaganda from the event.

Captured, or not, it seems that many still fear Saddam.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Saddam's Team Not Told of Date of Trial

Khalil Dulaimi, head of Saddam Hussein's legal team, has said that the team have not been informed by Iraqi authorities of the date set for Saddam's trial.

He also claims that they are unaware of the charges against Saddam.


"We have not been duly informed about any certain date for a trial

The defence has not been enabled to review any files of the charges or even any paper of investigation, despite the fact that we have made many and repeated requests to this effect

Additionally, Saddam has "signed any bill of indictment".

Dulaimi then went on to say that Saddam's defence team "have not and will not recognise any date for the trial if it comes within weeks or months".

Dulaimi said that Saddam "is unsatisfied by the current level of legal representation because such a case needs international experts in international, humanitarian and criminal laws."

"President Saddam Hussein has repeatedly asked most of the judges to be represented by international, Arab and Iraqi lawyers ... but the tribunal still prevents and denies real legal representation".

Did Saddam grant his prisoners the same rights that he now demands?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Family Affair

Ayman Sabawi, a nephew of Saddam Hussein, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for funding Iraq's insurgency and for bomb-making.

Sabawi was captured in May by security forces, during a raid on Tikrit. His father, Al-Hassan, served as a presidential adviser was captured there two months earlier.

The odd thing about this sentence is that the Iraqi authorities had not announced that Sabawi's trial was in fact under way.

Sabawi will face a second trial beginning November 1st for other, unspecified crimes to which he allegedly confessed during pretrial interrogation.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Saddam Hussein Used Mail To Fight

Saddam Hussein used a secret mail network to ferment a rebellion against the US forces, during the time between his downfall in April 2003 and his capture in December 2003.

Saddam sent letters with instructions for his subordinates.

In one letter he ordered his associates to change the target from coalition to Iraqi collaborators.

Friday, September 16, 2005


In order to speed up the trial proceedings of Saddam Hussein, and avoid any nasty references to people and governments who supported him in the past, it seems that his fate has already been decided.

He is guilty.

That at least is the case according to an anonymous Iraqi judge, who told an Iranian news agency that Saddam Hussein's fate has already been decided.

The judge is quoted as saying:

"The trial of Saddam Hussein will be brief and immediately afterwards the former dictator will be hanged by a rope in one of the rooms of the Mukhaberat (Saddam's secret service) where thousands of Iraqis have been tortured and killed."


"all efforts by foreign countries to prevent the death by hanging of the former dictator are useless, as the sentence has already been issued by the Iraqi people."

Not an auspicious start for one of the world's fledging democracies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Saddam Hussein disappears

In an Orwellian twist, reminiscent of 1984, Iraq's children returned to school this week with a new syllabus that has effectively erased Saddam Hussein from its history.

The education department has replaced the old Baathist textbooks with a new set, that present a different version of history.

It is often said that history is written by the victors.

In the new version of the past, Baghdad no longer wins the Iran-Iraq war nor confronts the "evil" of Zionism alone.

The old requirement of instructing primary school children to learn such "catchy" phrases as "I love Saddam", is now forbidden.

Saddam is now rarely mentioned by name and, more worryingly, his rule is left unanalysed.

Those that ignore their history are destined to repeat it.

Old books, that are still in use, have had Saddamist pages and his photos ripped out or blanked out.

Indeed, there is no mention of the 1991 Gulf war; and the events of 2003 are described as a "major shake-up" of Iraq.

This of course, as unpalatable as it may be, means that some fifty years of Iraqi history has been expunged.

I am afraid you cannot simply do that, without creating a very dangerous vacuum; nature abhors vacuums.

Avoiding the past in this way, and refusing to confront it, will store up trouble for the future.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Political Gimmick

Abdel Haq Alani, a senior member of Saddam Hussein's defence team, has said that the trial is nothing more than a political gimmick by the new Iraqi government.

He claimed that the trial is being held in order to generate support for next month's constitutional referendum.

Saddam, and seven other members of his regime, will stand trial in the Iraq Special Tribunal on October 19.

They are charged with ordering a massacre of 143 people in Dujail, in 1982 after a failed assassination attempt against Saddam. If convicted, Saddam could be sentenced to death.

Alani said:

"The court isn't even halfway ready to try the case. It's simply political capital being used to follow the referendum on the constitution."

Adding that the trial had "nothing to do with the reality of the investigation."

He went on to say that:

"The defence team has not yet been finalized. It will be made public when the accused (Saddam) gives his approval to the new team."

Theoretically, Saddam faces a dozen trials; only if he doesn't get executed after the first one finds him guilty.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Kuwait Demands Death Penalty

Kuwait has requested, through a lawsuit against former Iraqi regime members, the death penalty for Saddam Hussein and his aides.

Kuwait Justice Minister Ahmad Baqer said that the death penalty was based on numerous crimes by the former Iraqi regime, and Kuwait was about to ask for judicial co-operation with Iraq.

On the possibility of Kuwaiti observers attending Saddam's trial, Baqer said this would depend on hearing procedures as well as on Kuwaiti public prosecution.


"This issue is handled by the public prosecution and it is an independent authority".

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry submitted a file, containing the lawsuit against the former Iraqi regime, to a special tribunal via the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

The file contained details of names of the accused, description of their crimes and evidence.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Futile Defence

The defence team of Saddam Hussein are venting their spleens in public, about the futility of their task.

They are reportedly furious with the "politically motivated statements" by unnamed Iraqi officials, who talk about a quick execution if Saddam is found guilty.

Khalil Dulaimi, Saddam's chief lawyer, said:

"There is no chance of holding a just and honest trial in such an atmosphere and these verdicts appear to have been issued beforehand. It's futile to even have a defence".

Dulaimi went on to say that the Iraqi special court, that will try Saddam, had not notified the defence of the timing of the trial or sent any paperwork on the charge of killing 143 Shi'ite villagers after the failed assassination bid.

The defence believe that the Iraqi authorities want a quick trial, without charging Saddam with other crimes; these could implicate other Iraqi politicians, who currently hold power now.

It is also worth noting that there may be those in the USA who also back this stance, as a more protracted and detailed trail would highlight Washington's previous backing of Saddam.

Doubtless, those who want to see Saddam executed will get their way. However, those who want to see justice done, and all the crimes committed under Saddam's rule (by him and others, yet to be named) brought into the public arena may be disappointed.

Will justice be served, and will Iraq be healed by a Kangaroo court?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Saddam Hussein Has Not Confessed

Contrary to earlier reports, it now seems that Saddam Hussein has not confessed to any crimes committed during his presidency.

That at least is the case according to Khalil Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein's chief attorney.

He is quoted as saying:

"There was no confession by the president and all the investigations in this case do not implicate him at all" .

Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, had said that an investigator who questioned Saddam told him that he had extracted confessions from him and that Saddam had signed them.

This is a matter for the trial to decide.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Saddam Hussein Confesses

Saddam Hussein has confessed to crimes, and should be hanged "20 times". That is at least the view of Jalal Talabani, his successor as Iraq's president.


"Saddam deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times".


"There are 100 reasons to sentence Saddam to death".

Conveniently, Talabani is refusing to sign the death warrant should one be forthcoming.

His excuse is that, as leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, he had once signed up his party to an international ban on capital punishment.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Saddam Hussein Meets Lawyer

Saddam Hussein met his Iraqi lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi, yesterday.

The meeting dealt with Saddam's trial for the 1982 massacre of Shiites, which will begin on October 19.

Saddam and seven others will be tried over the massacre of over 140 Shiite villagers in Dujail, after a failed assassination bid against him.

He faces the death penalty if found guilty.

Members of Saddam's Jordan-based defence team have said the announcement of the trial date was politically motivated, in order to distract attention from the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

They also have complained that Dulaimi does not have enough time to adequately prepare for the trial.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Defence Complains About Trial Date

Saddam Hussein's defence team have complained that they will not have enough time to prepare for the trial, which is due to start on October 19.

A legal adviser to Saddam's family, Abdel-Haq Alani, said that starting the trial next month would "undercut the defence capability to review the case."

Alani said that the defence had received no official notice about the date.


"How can one review thousands and thousands of pages in just a matter of a few days. This court has been deliberating with the evidence for the past year, but it has been keeping it away from the defence, which is not fair."

Under Iraqi law, the defendants will stand before the judge while he reads the charges. The defence will then be given the opportunity to respond, and ask for a postponement.

Saddam faces the death penalty if he is convicted.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Trial Date Set

The trial of Saddam Hussein will open on the 19th of October, after the referendum on the constitution on the 15th of October.

Saddam and three co-defendants will stand trial for the 1982 massacre of Shiites in Dujail, after a failed assassination. He could receive the death penalty.

The other co-defendants are; Barazan Ibrahim, intelligence chief at the time and Saddam's half brother, former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, at the time a Baath party official in Dujail.

Saddam is expected to face a dozen trials for alleged crimes committed by his regime.

The question is, given the rising tensions in the country especially since the stampede of pilgrims, will there be a unified country left in which to try him?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Blame Game

Two top Iraqi Shi'ite officials have accused Islamist militants and loyalists to Saddam Hussein of deliberately causing a stampede over a Baghdad bridge, in which at least 700 people died on Wednesday.

Ammar al Hakim, a leader in the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said:

"We hold the terrorists, Saddamists and radical extremists, responsible for what happened,".

Abdul Hadi al Daraji, spokesman for cleric Moqtada al -Sadr, said insurgents had spread rumours there was a suicide bomber in the crowd to cause panic.

No doubt these statements will aid their own political agenda.

The question is, are they true?

Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war, rushing to conclusions before the facts are known is a very dangerous game.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Evidence Being Gathered

Judge Raed al-Juhi, the chief judge trying Saddam Hussein, has arrived in Sulaimaniyah in Northern Iraq's Kurdish-controlled zone.

He is there to gather criminal evidence against Saddam.

An official is quoted as saying:

"The visit by Judge Raed al-Juhi to Sulaimaniyah is to gather documents and evidence that could be useful in the trial of Saddam Hussein.

These are victims or families of victims, who were affected during the Anfal operations in which 182,000 were killed in several Kurdistan provinces, or those who were subjected to chemical warfare in Halabja in 1988

He said that Juhi will then go to Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sunnis Oppose Constitution

Thousands of Sunni demonstrators rallied on Monday in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, to denounce Iraq's proposed constitution a day after negotiators finished it.

Sunni Arab leaders, whose ethnic group was favored under Saddam, have urged people to vote down the constitution in a nationwide referendum which is set for October 15.

The demonstrators carried Saddam's picture along with Iraqi flags.

They believe that the goal of the charter is to divide Iraq along religious and ethnic lines. The Sunni member of the panel that worked on the constitution said that it would "worsen everything in the country."

Monday, August 29, 2005

No Death Sentence

Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, has said that he will not sign a death sentence for Saddam Hussein if Saddam is convicted. Talabani went on to say that he would resign, if the sentence was passed.

Talabani opposes the death penalty on principle, and said that he expects that Saddam will be convicted.

"When the death sentence is given to me, I will not sign it on principle ... and if it does pass, I will relieve myself of my post. I think a sentence will be passed on Saddam Hussein before my term ends,".

Talabani gave authority to his deputy to sign death sentences, on his behalf, for three men convicted of murder.

He may well do the same for Saddam.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ba' athist Comeback

Saddam Hussein's Baath party is making a political comeback.

Seemingly, the Ba'athist movement has become a channel for Sunni Arab political expression.

Much like Britain's "New Labour", the Ba' ath party has had a political makeover. It is now referred to, by some, as the New Ba'ath party.

Colonel Steven Salazar, commander of the US brigade in Diyala, said:

"It's an organisation that has been developing in the last six months, if not longer.

They've held big party functions where they talk about their political future. But in the background, there are always small groups dedicated to violence,"

The Ba'ath have claimed responsibility for guerrilla attacks on US and government targets, and recently claimed responsibility for assassinating a Shia provincial council member.

Col Salazar said:

"If there's going to be a Ba'ath party, it's going to have to be a very different kind of party,".

However, the draft constitution prohibits the revival of "the Saddamist Ba'ath party".

Hence the need for an image makoever.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Saddam's New Photos

Three new photos of Saddam Hussein have been released by the Special Iraqi Tribunal investigating him.

The photos show Saddam being questioned by Chief Investigative Judge Raid Juhi.

They are the first pictures of him to appear since May, when the British tabloid Sun newspaper published photos of him doing his laundry in jail.

The latest pictures were taken on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Saddam Drops Legal Team

Saddam Hussein has confirmed that he wants his legal team to be sacked.

He reportedly met with his lawyer and the chief judge, investigating charges against him, yesterday.

Khalil Dulaimi, Saddam's lawyer, said:

"The judge asked president Saddam Hussein about his family's statement that his legal team had been fired and he confirmed it,".

Dulaimi met with Saddam for four hours of talks with Saddam.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Constitution Wrangle Continues

Iraq's parliament continues to debate its first constitution, since the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

A draft was presented to parliament, minutes before a new deadline ran out. However, there are a number of issues still unresolved.

Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hasani said that it was incomplete and could still be modified.

"Few issues remain to be settled and will be dealt with within three days," Hasani said, addressing MPs.

There is a determination to reach an agreement on all points ... All parties will work within the next three days to reach an agreement. We will meet in three days to finalise this issue

Hasani said that there are three issues that still need to be sorted out.

"These points include federalism, and the way to form these (federal) regions ... the terminology used (in the de-Bathification process), whether to use the term Baath party or Saddam's Baath ..., the other issue is structuring of authority between the presidency, parliament and the government."

President Jalal Talabani said the three outstanding issues would be discussed by MPs:

"The big majority of it has been agreed but three articles remain. Now we will give a chance to members of the national assembly to look at it and I hope within three days these problems will be solved."

However, Sunni panelist Saleh al-Motlag told CNN:

"If the document does not have consensus it is illegal.

The document does not have a Sunni voice in does not have the voice of Iraq. The document will be defeated in the referendum not just in the three Sunni provinces but all across Iraq

Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador, said:

"We will work together with the members of the commission to broaden the support from the Sunni participants in the constitution process. It is absolutely vital for the stability of Iraq and for winning the war against insurgents that Sunnis see themselves in this new picture of new Iraq that is emerging."

Sunnis oppose a federal structure, because they believe that they will lose out on their "fair share" of Iraq's oil.

The risk is that Iraq decends into civil war, as the various groups become more entrenched in their views as to what the constitution should say.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Saddam's Letter

Here is the text of a letter which Saddam Hussein allegedly sent to a Jordanian friend, via the International Committee of the Red Cross, on 16th August.

"My greetings to the Arab people of brotherly Jordan and to whoever asks about us in our dignified and glorified nation; my soul and my existence is to be sacrificed for our precious Palestine and our beloved, patient and suffering Iraq.

Life is meaningless without the considerations of faith, love and inherited history in our nation.

It is not much for a man to support his nation with his soul and all he commands because it deserves it since it has given us life in the name of God and allowed us to inherit the best.

My brother, love your people, love Palestine, love your nation, long live Palestine

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jobs For The Boys

It seems that whilst the fate of some of Saddam Hussein's former associates does not look too bright, others are doing reasonably well for themselves.

Sadoon al-Zubaydi, the favourite translator of Saddam Hussein who conveyed Saddam's words in hundreds of meetings, is now helping to write the new Iraqi constitution.

His work on the constitution is as a result of a government gesture to disaffected Sunni Muslims.

He is critical of the current occupation, saying:

"I believe that as long as we are under occupation, everything is in question," he said recently. (The political process) may be legitimate, it may be partly legitimate or it may be totally illegitimate, but it is in question."

Al-Zubaydi is a leader of the National Dialogue Council, a group jostling for leadership of the Sunni minority, and was elected at a conference as one of 10 permitted expert advisors.

He is critical of the way that Saddam is being held:

"He should not be treated like an animal in a zoo," .

Adding, as if attending a job interview:

"I have always been known as a true professional who attended to his job. I am an intellectual and a diplomat with a wealth of experience that should not be left aside."

It's a funny old world!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

An Ominous Sign

In an ominous sign for Saddam Hussein, the first executions in Iraq since the toppling of Saddam are due to be carried out in the next few days.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said:

"The president (Jalal Talabani) has signed three death sentences and the next few days will see the first executions in Kut,".

Three members of the Al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar al-Sunna were sentenced to death in May; this verdict was approved by the Supreme Council for Justice, the highest judicial authority in Iraq.

These are the first death sentences to be announced by Jaafari's government, since capital punishment was suspended by US authorities following the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Amnesty International have condemned the death sentences.


"We condemned the passing of death sentences in Iraq before 2003, and we also condemn them now,".

"In those cases the charges are so serious and the evidence so clear that quite a few people from the old regime (in Iraq) will probably face the death sentence,".

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New TV Show

A new TV show commissioned by Sky, called "Terrible Tastes of the Great Dictators", will look at Saddam Hussein's choice of decor.

The programme will feature a guided tour around his palaces, and will focus on his home furnishings including a gold-plated toilet with matching gold toilet brush.

The programme will also feature an interview with Saddam's interior designer, who was ordered to build him a palm tree made of crystal and to write a copy of the Koran in Saddam's blood.

The Sky One show will also feature the homes of Chairman Mao and Adolf Hitler.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Family Can't Fire Lawyers

The Iraqi tribunal, trying Saddam Hussein for war crimes, has blocked Saddam's family from firing his 2000 strong defence team.

The tribunal, not unreasonably, say that only Saddam can fire his lawyers.

Last week a lawyer acting for Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghd, said that the family had fired the team; and would build a better one.

The tribunal responded by letter, saying:

"We want to clarify some issues relating to the request to revoke all powers of attorney. We are very surprised by such unlawful acts. The exclusive right to empower any lawyer or to cancel any power of attorney is for defendant Saddam Hussein,".

Raghd wrote to the tribunal, pointing out that Saddam was not able to make such decisions freely himself.


"The family of the president is free to choose whoever it wants to defend him and to remove whoever it wants for as long as he is denied freedom of choice,".

Maybe a statement from Saddam would clarify his wishes?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Saddam Could Be Executed

An unnamed official involved in the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein has said that Saddam could be executed after his first trial, if he is convicted and sentenced to death for his alleged role in a 1982 Shiite massacre, even though he faces other charges.

The first trial involves Saddam's alleged role in the 1982 massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, north of Baghdad.

If Saddam is sentenced to death in the Dujail case authorities could "theoretically" carry out the sentence, without waiting for the other trials to begin.

The trial is expected to begin in the Autumn.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dispute Over Sacking

Following on from the earlier report about Saddam Hussein's family scaking his legal team, it seems that not everyone is prepared to take their dismissal lying down.

Emmanuel Ludot, a French lawyer who was part of the defence team, said that the sacking was contrary to Saddam's stated wishes.


"The president himself expressed several times... his wish to keep a big committee around him, one that is as international as possible, to denounce the Americans' behaviour in his country,".

He went on to say that Saddam had made his position known during jail visits by his Iraqi lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi.

Ludot said he believed the decision was due to confusion in the family about lack of progress in the case, and the belief that "by limiting access to the dossier to a single lawyer, they will get a better hearing."

It was a "false analysis," he said.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tariq Aziz Not To Testify

Saddam Hussein's lieutenant, Tariq Aziz, will not testify against Saddam in any criminal trial according to his lawyer.

Aziz, who was Iraq's foreign minister and deputy foreign minister, issued a statement via his lawyer Badee Izzat Aref.


"I will not betray my honor and my conscience and testify against Saddam Hussein,".

Aziz is in U.S. custody, and faces charges for his role in Saddam's regime.

Saddam's first trial is expected to begin within 45 to 50 days.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Saddam Sacks Lawyers

Saddam Hussein's family have dissolved his Jordan-based legal team, and have cancelled the power of attorney it had given to international lawyers.

Instead, Saddam's family have appointed Khalil Dulaimi as the "one and sole legal counsel."

Dulaimi has been part of the legal team for the past year, and has attended some of Saddam's initial court hearings in Baghdad.

The family is quoted as saying that they were "obliged to rearrange the legal defense campaign given the unique nature of the case,".

It seems that the family were upset by statements issued by various lawyers, and wanted only one legal voice to speak on Saddam's behalf.

However, Saddam's former chief lawyer Jordanian Ziad al-Khasawneh, who resigned on July 7, claimed that members of the legal team (ie the Americans) had criticised him for rebuking the American occupation of Iraq and declaring the resistance as "legitimate."

He went on to claim that the former U.S. attorney general, Ramsey Clark, had advised Raghad and other members of Saddam's family that such statements hurt Saddam's defense.

Saddam's legal team is quite sizeable, including 1,500 volunteers and at least 22 lead lawyers from several countries including; the United States, France, Jordan, Iraq and Libya.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Iraqi Government Sued for $1BN

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, an Italian bank, is suing the Iraqi government for $1BN.

The case, that is being heard in Fulton County Superior Court, is a bid to recover more than $1BN that the bank lent to Saddam Hussein's regime 15 years ago.

The loans originated in the Atlanta office of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, and were the centre of the "Iraqgate" scandal; in which critics blamed the first Bush administration with arming Saddam's government in the late 1980s.

Although the Bush administration was exonerated of any wrongdoing, many still speculate over how the bank lent the Iraqis the money without the knowledge of their superiors in Rome or any high-ranking American officials.

The Justice Department accused the manager of the bank's Atlanta office, Christopher Drogoul, of organising illicit loans and defrauding the bank and the US government. A federal grand jury indicted Drogoul in 1991, along with some of his subordinates, a government owned Iraqi bank and five Iraqi officials.

Drogoul subsequently "copped a plea", and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

The current case names as defendants the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Iraq, the Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Iraq and the Central Bank of Iraq.

It seems a hell of a cheek to sue the current government of Iraq, who had no responsibility for loans granted to the previous administration.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Flights Resumed

Iraqi Airways has now resumed flights to Turkey since sanctions were imposed in 1991, following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

Iraqi Airways is planning to operate two commercial flights a week between Baghdad and Istanbul.

The airline resumed international flights in September 2004 with a Baghdad-Amman service, after being grounded for 14 years.

It currently flies to Amman in Jordan, Damascus as well as the Iraqi cities of Arbil and Basra.

Small steps maybe, but important ones nonetheless.