Monday, July 18, 2005


The first of few charges against Saddam Hussein

The Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST), the judicial group set up by the Iraqi Governing Council during the "official" occupation, has brought its first charge against Saddam Hussein. According to the BBC, the charge "involves the killing of Shia Muslims in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982, after a failed assassination attempt against him."

The scope of the IST's mandate is broad—

The Tribunal shall have jurisdiction over any Iraqi national or resident of Iraq accused of the crimes listed in Articles 11 - 14, committed since July 17, 1968 and up and until May 1, 2003 , in the territory of Iraq or elsewhere, namely:
  1. The crime of genocide;
  2. Crimes against humanity;
  3. War crimes; or
  4. Violations of certain Iraqi laws listed in Article 14 below.

Those aforementioned Iraqi laws consist of—

  1. For those outside the judiciary, the attempt to manipulate the judiciary or involvement in the functions of the judiciary, in violation, inter alia, of the Iraqi interim constitution of 1970, as amended;
  2. The wastage of national resources and the squandering of public assets and funds, pursuant to, inter alia, Article 2(g) of Law Number 7 of 1958, as amended; and
  3. The abuse of position and the pursuit of policies that may lead to the threat of war or the use of the armed forces of Iraq against an Arab country, in accordance with Article 1 of Law Number 7 of 1958, as amended.

In short, the IST is investigating a span of 35 years for violations of both international and Iraqi law.

Many commentators have wondered, considering the American involvement with Saddam during that period, how embarrassment to the United States could be avoided once the trial of Saddam begins. Well, returning to the BBC report, this may be the answer—

"Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we look forward to concluding the investigation into other cases," he [Raed Juhi, the chief investigating judge] said, allowing other trials to go ahead. The Iraqi government has said Saddam Hussein will face only 12 charges when he goes on trial, despite a possible 500 cases against him.

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