Annan Condemns Attacks On Iraqi Tribunal Lawyers
ANNAN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON IRAQI TRIBUNAL DEFENCE COUNSELLORS
New York, Nov 8 2005 5:00PM
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today condemned what he called "brutal" attacks, two of which were fatal, on three attorneys defending officials of the regime of Saddam Hussein in a trial that began on 19 October 2005.
In particular, he cited the "cold-blooded murders" of counsellors to the Special Iraqi Criminal Tribunal Adel al-Zubeidi today and Saadoun al-Janabi last month, according to a UN spokesperson.
"These actions undermine efforts to uphold the cause of justice and the rule of law in Iraq. In this regard, it is vitally important that the security of all involved with the Tribunal should be equally assured to ensure a trial free from intimidation and coercion," the spokesperson said.
"The Secretary-General hopes that the Tribunal will uphold the international standards of justice necessary to ensure its legitimacy, fairness and independence," she added.
In other news from Iraq today, Mr. Annan's senior envoy in that country praised the conduct of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq (IECI), which oversaw the 15 October constitutional referendum and other polls of the past year in the strife-torn country.
"The IECI preserved the levels of transparency and accountability that are consistent with internationally accepted standards and practices for verification of the votes," Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said as the results of the field audit of last month's referendum were released.
"The IECI has overseen 22 different elections in Iraq in one year, a remarkable task by any standard," he added.
The UN, which has a mandate to provide strategic advice and technical assistance to the IECI under Security Council Resolution 1546, has been supporting the IECI since its establishment in May 2004. Under the coordination of the UN Electoral Assistance Team, some 45 foreign specialists provided advice and technical support to IECI headquarters and its 1,000 staff members for the organization of the referendum.
The IECI hired more than 100,000 polling staff across the country and carried out a public outreach campaign featuring television commercials, leaflets and education materials. It also trained staff and provided materials for polling stations.