HRW: Many procedural and substantive flaws in Saddam trial
The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven other defendants before the Iraqi High Tribunal for crimes against humanity was marred by so many procedural and substantive flaws that the verdict is unsound, Human Rights Watch said in a 97-page report released Monday. The shortcomings of the trial, for the killings of more than 100 people from the Iraqi town of Dujail, also call into question subsequent proceedings at the tribunal.
“The proceedings in the Dujail trial were fundamentally unfair,” said Nehal Bhuta of the International Justice program at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The tribunal squandered an important opportunity to deliver credible justice to the people of Iraq. And its imposition of the death penalty after an unfair trial is indefensible.”
The report, entitled “Judging Dujail: The First Trial Before the Iraqi High Tribunal,” is based on 10 months of observation and dozens of interviews with judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers, and is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the trial. Human Rights Watch, which has demanded the prosecution of Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants for more than a decade, was one of only two international organizations that had a regular observer presence in the courtroom.