19.11.06

Human Rights Watch | Iraq: Dujail Trial Fundamentally Flawed

Iraq: Dujail Trial Fundamentally Flawed (Human Rights Watch, 20-11-2006):

Court Should Overturn Verdict, Death Penalty

“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.

The Iraqi High Tribunal was undermined from the outset by Iraqi government actions that threatened the independence and perceived impartiality of the court. Members of parliament and even ministers regularly denounced the tribunal as weak, leading to the resignation of the first presiding trial judge.

The full HRW Report is located here.

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