Saddam trial ’may lack evidence’ -
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2004, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Post Saddam trial ’may lack evidence’
/12/2003 AFP AFP - Iraqi legal experts are warning of the huge difficulties ahead in finding decisive evidence of Saddam Hussein’s guilt in crimes committed by his regime in Iraq.

Much of the international community has been debating whether Saddam could face the death penalty for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But the experts said at a Washington meeting organised by the American Enterprise Institute that any trial of Saddam could simply get bogged down over the lack of evidence.

"It is one thing to say what we all know about what Saddam did. But it’s another to prove it in a court of law," warned Kanan Makiya, founder of the Iraq Memory Foundation, one of the groups helping to draw up a new Iraqi constitution.

Because "we don’t have a smoking gun to convict Saddam. We will need witnesses, documents," he said.

The foundation is gathering and analysing documents from various parts of the Iraqi regime, including the intelligence services, police and army.

Some six million pages, most signed by the former Iraqi leader and his close deputies over the three decades of his regime have been collected by the foundation.

According to Hassan Mneimneh, an official at an Iraqi research and documentation centre at Harvard University, "Saddam was shielded."

"We have here a structure of oppression with layers of intermediates (while) he issued only general statements, limiting himself to a boring but non compromising rhetoric.

"He believed it was necessary to protect himself," Mneimneh added.

So, the experts said, it might be easier for example to charge Ali Hassan Al-Majid, dubbed "Chemical Ali", whose capture was announced August 21, than Saddam Hussein.

"We have many smoking guns with regards to Ali Hassan Majid’s responsibility in very serious crimes committed in Iraq," said Kanan Makiya.

"Saddam is a much more difficult case."

According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), 100,000 Kurds were killed or disappeared in Kurdistan by Al-Majid between 1987 and 1988.

Iraqi Kurds accuse him of ordering a gas attack that killed about 5,000 people inHalabja.

Al-Majid also led repression in 1991 against Shiites in southern Iraq at the end of the first Gulf War.

Neil Kritz, an international law expert and one of the architects of the Russian draft constitution (1990-1991), said that international law should be brought to bear on the Iraqi former dictator in attempting to bring justice to bear.

"International law recognizes a top commander responsibility. We need to build the case in showing the nature of a system killing a large number of people," Kritz said.

"If you can demonstrate that the ultimate commander was aware of the crimes, it is valuable in terms of international law."

Stephen Orlofsky, a federal judge working in Iraq, said, "It doesn’t surprise me to learn that Saddam Hussein attempted to insulate himself from crimes by interposing between himself and the people who actually committed the crimes many different layers of personnel and bureaucracy.

"It is not unusual to have that kind of situation in a war crime trial setting. At Nuremberg, the same kind of things occurred.

"The solution is to do the best you can, to investigate, to collect testimonies," Orlofsky stressed.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2004, 06:40 PM
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Warrior, that's why I always felt a Hague style trial was more realistic. Also, I expect potential witnesses (and their families) 2B threatened as would-be collaborators by elements of the loose alliance of rebel groups.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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Glove does not fit, must acquit!

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