World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Iraq: Saddam Trial Faces Big Challenges

Iraq: Saddam Trial Faces Big Challenges

Protection for Witnesses, Defense Lawyers Must Be Ensured

The court trying Saddam Hussein and seven other former Iraqi officials will confront the challenge of protecting defense lawyers and witnesses when the trial for the Dujail massacre resumes on Monday, Human Rights Watch said.

“The recent murder of two defense lawyers in the trial demonstrates the urgent need to protect those lawyers as well as witnesses,” said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. “However, all arrangements for witness protection must be consistent with fair trial guarantees.”

On October 19 Saddam Hussein and seven other former Iraqi officials went on trial for crimes that took place in the town of al-Dujail in 1982. They are charged with killing more than one hundred and forty people from al-Dujail in retaliation for an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein as his motorcade passed through the town.

Since the trial’s opening session, two defense lawyers have been murdered. The surviving defense attorneys had previously announced their intention to suspend involvement with the case unless their demands, including a way to ensure their security, were addressed. There are reports that a security agreement has been worked out. It now appears that the defense lawyers will be in court again on November 28.

Once the trial resumes, the judges will have to rule on various defense motions. The bench may also have to decide on the appropriate ways to protect witnesses who will be giving testimony.

“This trial poses big obstacles, but for the tribunal to be credible, the judges will have to overcome them,” Dicker said. “We will look very carefully at how the judges respond to motions submitted by the defense, including requests for more time to allow adequate preparation.”

The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (formerly known as the Iraqi Special Tribunal) is an Iraqi court mandated to try former government officials. Established under a law passed by the Iraqi parliament, the tribunal has the authority to prosecute Iraqi nationals for the grave crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Funded mostly by the U.S. government, the court will try some of the most notorious human rights crimes that occurred under the previous government, including the poison gas attacks against Iraqi Kurds and the brutal suppression of the 1991 rebellion in southern Iraq.

Five Iraqi judges make up a trial chamber. The prosecutors and principal defense lawyers are Iraqi.

In a briefing paper released on October 16, Human Rights Watch highlighted concerns that the tribunal is at risk of violating basic fair-trial guarantees.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>