Monday, February 06, 2006

Saddam trial: Evidence may not be enough to get conviction

After four months and 26 witnesses, prosecutors in the Saddam Hussein trial have offered little credible testimony directly linking the former leader to the killings and torture for which he's charged.



But legal experts familiar with the case say the best may be yet to come documents allegedly tying Saddam to the crackdown that followed an assassination attempt against him 23 years ago in Dujail, a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad.

Without compelling evidence, a guilty verdict against Saddam may not provide closure for victims of Saddam's atrocities. But the experts caution that the documents which include hand written notes, interrogation orders and death sentences handed down by the Revolutionary Court may not alone be enough to win a conviction.

What is needed, they said, is to establish a clear chain of command that would show Saddam would have known what happened to the more than 140 Shiites killed and the others tortured after the 1982 attempt on the former ruler's life in Dujail, north of Baghdad.

The evidence to date mostly testimony from people who were arrested and allegedly tortured has pointed to a brutal crackdown but has not showed that Saddam played a direct role. Saddam and the seven co-defendants, charged in the Dujail killings, could face death by hanging if convicted.

"The testimonies we have heard so far are moving but they are not enough and that's causing us concern," said Nehal Bhuta, a Human Rights Watch lawyer following the Saddam trial. "What is needed is evidence linking each of the eight defendants to what happened or evidence that Saddam could not have not known," he said by telephone from New York.

But the chief prosecutor maintains that he has the evidence to win a conviction that will be accepted not only by those Iraqis who are eager to see Saddam hang but also international legal institutions that have been skeptical of an Iraqi trial from the start.

Source and further reading here. (3 pages)

10 comments:

  1. what a joke. there is no DOUBT what he did... the legal system is a mess...

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. First thing Grid you have know Idea who I am. I have (as I have said at least a hundred times) Been to Iraq I have worked right across the middle east. I have lost friends due to terrorism and have worked in related fields for more years than you were a kid.

    I have not been a 'young kid' for more years than I would care to remember.

    So on the first count your message is insulting to me and 100 % wrong.

    rather than play guessing games why not actually try to find out whom I might be before you come here spouting your fictious analysis of my persona .

    Whilst your at it why not read our posting rules before leaving a comment.

    Message deleted due to breaking rule 4 of our posting rules .

    Feel free to post again aslong as you follow the rules like everyone else here.

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  4. The Grid, there is nothing in anything "we" have written about whether or not Saddam is guilty. The editors are very away of Saddam's crimes against humanity and have never suggested his innocence. We have, however, consistently called for a fair trial.

    As for our irrelevant personal experiences, I have had a loved one horribly victimised. And the relevance of that to the cost of the war counter? Zero.

    And taking a stand defending rights? Well, you didn't read much of the site obviously.

    At any rate, your little fact-free rant leaves you you sounding like you are just some "uniformed kid" [sic] without much life experience. (Please forgive the plagiarism.)

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  5. Oh. That approach is better, _H_.

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  6. BTW, _H_, if you have not been "a 'young kid' for more years than [you] would care to remember," where does that leave your elders like me?
    ;-)

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  7. Interesting article, thanks for posting this. By the same chain of command premise it should be noted that Bush, Rumsfeld et al knew of torture and abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, white phosphorous being used in Fallujah, and several breaches of the Geneva conventions.

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  8. very true and I dont doubt following this 'chain of command' would lead us to the murder of a lot more than the 148 people Saddam is currently charged with.

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