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

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Perjury Claim

Saddam Hussein's trial erupted into the usual chaos yesterday, as the chief judge Raouf Abdul Rahman threw out former intelligence chief Barzan Hassan, one of the defendants, and the defence/prosecution accused each other of lying.

Court guards had to escort Barzan Hassan out of the courtroom, after he rebuked chief judge Abdul Rahman for warning a defence witness that he could be prosecuted for perjury.

Hassan said:

"I believe we should hear the witness and take what is useful and ignore what is not useful."

Abdul Rahman retorted:

"Every session you have a lecture."


"Get him out of the court."

Aside from the fracas, the court heard from a defence witness who alleged that chief prosecutor Jaafar Moussawi had tried to pay him to falsify testimony against Saddam and his co-defendants. Moussawi responded by accusing the defence of coaching the witness.

A tit for tat argument then broke out, as the defence rounded on the prosecution and accused one of their witnesses of committing perjury; they then demanded that the trial be halted, so that an investigation could be conducted.

To add to the theatrical feel of yesterday's proceedings, the defence showed a DVD purporting to show that Ali al-Haidari lied in testimony he gave in December about a crackdown against Shiites after the 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam.

Al-Haidari had testified that he was arrested at the age of 14 after the attack, and was tortured with electrical shocks and beatings.

One of the videos showed footage of his testimony. In it al-Haidari said that there was no shooting attack on Saddam in Dujail on July 8 1982, the shots were celebratory in honour of Saddam's visit.

The DVD then showed al-Haidari in 2004 praising the attack on Saddam as an attempt by "sons of Dujail ... to kill the greatest tyrant in modern history."

The defence noted the contradiction, and asked that he be investigated for perjury.

Defence lawyer Ziyad al-Najdawi concluded:

"Now that it's been proven that the (al-Haidari) has given an untrue testimony, we ask that the trial proceedings be stopped to allow for an investigation into the veracity of the other prosecution testimony."

Moussawi noted that speeches, outside of oath, were irrelevant.

The court has not ruled on the defence's request.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dead Witness

Saddam Hussein and his team continued to complain about the unfairness of his trial yesterday, evidently forgetting how bad things were for plaintiffs during his period of office.

They asked that the defence be given the same length of time as the prosecution to present their case, and they noted that one of their witnesses had been killed and others wouldn't testify because they were wanted by authorities.


"The defence is not free to present its witnesses the way the prosecution is."

It was also alleged by one witness that some victims, the defendants are accused of killing, are still alive.

Judge Abdel-Rahman said:

"The key is not the number of witnesses, but the quality of their testimony. That's in your interest. If you come with 100 witnesses but they aren't effective for your defense the court won't take it."

One of the witnesses testified that nearly two dozen of the 148 Shiites who were sentenced to death were still alive.


"Around 23 of those who were mentioned among the 148 are still alive, and I know most of them. I've eaten with them, I've met them. I can take the chief prosecutor to Dujail and have lunch with them."

He gave Abdel-Rahman the names of six of them, Abel-Rahman responded:

"If the witness' testimony is correct the case should be reviewed."

However, chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi noted that records showed that the witness was not a Dujail resident and that some of the names were not on the list of those sentenced to death.

Saddam intervened and said:

"Your honour, you've come upon a serious issue that needs a comprehensive study."

The judge promised to investigate, and ordered the witness to remain in protective custody to help in the inquiry.

Herein lies the problem with the piecemeal approach chosen to place Saddam Hussein on trial. By prosecuting him for only one crime, instead of adopting a Nuremburg style "catch all" approach the prosecutors have given him the chance to chip away at their case bit by bit, and play for time.

The trial continues.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CD Request

Saddam Hussein insisted, in an argument in court today, that the defence in his trial should get as much time as the prosecution.

The defence are seeking to submit CD videos as evidence.

Chief judge Rouf Abdel-Rahman said that he would not play the CDs in court, without first receiving a written request to include them as evidence. He also noted that the defence had been trying to add more witnesses to the list of those to testify.

Saddam interrupted, and said that Abdel-Rahman should give the defence as much time as the prosecution.


"I would insist not come here if I did not respect the judicial system. My respect for the judicial system is the reason behind accepting my colleagues to defend me and to present my case before Iraqis and public opinion.

The prosecution presented all his witness one by one. We have nothing here just talking but when the talk is forbidden then we enter an imbalance. To attain balance we have to give the same opportunity to the defence witnesses

Saddam has neglected to point out that he has no choice but to attend the trial.

All Fair

On Monday, the defence witnesses at the trial of Saddam Hussein testified that death sentences handed down to 148 Shia men convicted for their alleged involvement in a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam were fair.

One witness was a former Revolutionary Court lawyer, who appeared on behalf of Awad al-Bandar, one of Saddam's co-accused.

Bandar was the chief judge when the court passed the death sentence on the 148 Shias. He was quoted as saying:

"The court allowed defendants to commission a lawyer and if a defendant was not able to hire a lawyer then the court would appoint one for him.

Mr Bandar took the humanitarian aspect into consideration, and he was fair and made all judgements according to law

The next witness had once been a defendant before the Revolutionary Court. He said:

"I didn't want a lawyer because I was innocent but the judge gave me sufficient time to bring a defence lawyer to defend me. I still remember he called me 'my son' and I was just a defendant."

Bandar has claimed that the Dujail trial was fair, despite the fact that there was only one defence lawyer for all 148 accused and that the trial took only 16 days.

During yesterday's hearing, some of the witnesses restated their loyalty to Saddam.

One asked if he could offer greetings to Saddam from his tribe and family. Needless to say, the judge pointed out that this was a courtroom not a Baath party meeting.

Saddam laughed and answered:

"Well done, well done. Say hello to all of them."

The judge ejected a member of the public after the defence complained that the man was a member of a Shia militia, who had threatened lawyers in the past.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Iran Sues Saddam

Iran has filed a lawsuit against Saddam Hussein for the 1980's war against Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who is visiting Baghdad, said:

"The two sides (Iran and Iraq), noting the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein's regime in its aggression against the people of Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, confirmed the need to seek justice for that.

To this end the Iranian Republic has passed on to the Foreign Ministry of Iraq a complaint against Saddam and his agents for examination by the Iraqi High Tribunal

Mottaki gave Iran's support for Iraq's new government, and promised to help it with reconstruction projects.

Aziz Testifies

Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussein's closest henchmen, took the stand last Wednesday to defend his former boss.

Aziz said that the government of the day reacted lawfully during the attacks against the state and government, including the 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein.

Aziz claims that he was never told by the other defendants about the crackdown against Shiites in Dujail, following the assassination attempt. He took the view that "no one is guilty of anything", and that the enforcing of law by the government is not a crime.

Aziz said that Barzan Hassan, the former head of the secret police, would have told him if Hassan or the intelligence agency had been torturing people. Aziz also testified that former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan had nothing to do with the crackdown.

Aziz claimed that the Dawa Party of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tried to kill him and Saddam during that period, and said that dozens of students were killed then.


"I'm a victim of criminal acts committed by a party presently in power now. Try them."

How the worm has turned.