Human Rights Watch: Hussein Trial ‘Flawed and Unsound’
Posted on Nov 20, 2006
Still wondering whether the trial of Saddam Hussein might have been a miscarriage of justice? Take a look at the HRW report (pdf) and make up your mind. Hussein’s chief defense lawyer, Khalil al-Dulami, recently complained to the BBC that he has been prevented from filing appeal papers.
The trial of Saddam Hussein was so flawed that its verdict is unsound, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch says.
HRW said “serious administrative, procedural and substantive legal defects” meant the 5 November trial for crimes against humanity was not fair.
The Iraqi government has dismissed the report, telling the BBC that the trial was both “just and fair”.
The ex-Iraqi leader has two weeks to lodge an appeal but his lawyer claims he has been blocked from doing so.
The picture that emerges from this research is of an institution struggling with all aspects of conducting these legally and factually complicated trials, and also beset by external problems: misunderstanding and hostility in public opinion and from political leaders; grave and increasing security threats to all participants; a bitterly divided legal profession; and a deepening reluctance by other international actors to assist the process. Cumulatively, these limitations have meant that, in the Dujail trial, the court has not met essential fair trial standards and that the credibility of the trial process is doubtful. Human Rights Watch has documented serious administrative, procedural, and substantive legal defects in the trial.