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

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.