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Hussein trial, Iraq: UN condemns murder of lawyer

Top UN Iraq envoy condemns murder of defence lawyer in Saddam Hussein trial

The senior United Nations envoy in Iraq today condemned the abduction and killing of a defence lawyer in trial of ousted President Saddam Hussein before the Iraqi Higher Tribunal.

The attack on Khamis Al-Obeidi follows the assassination of two trial defence lawyers and the wounding of another in 2005.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi expressed his concern that the significant number of killings, intimidation and threats against judicial personnel would undermine Iraq’s efforts to rebuild the rule of law and democracy in the war-torn country.

In a statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), he urged the Iraqi authorities to adopt effective measures to address the level and extent of violence which threatens the stability of the country.

“This is an absolute necessity if the essential institutions of good governance in Iraq are to be established,” the statement emphasized.

In another development, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced appreciation for Denmark’s recent announcement that it will provide a dedicated fixed-wing aircraft for UN operations in Iraq. He also welcomed the recent offer by the Government of Japan to provide airlift support.

“The Secretary-General looks forward to seeing these arrangements finalized and implemented as soon as possible,” his spokesman said. “These contributions will significantly improve UN mobility and support to its offices in Iraq.”

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