Skip to comments.De-Baathification of special tribunal may imperil Saddam's trial
Posted on 08/04/2005 9:08:55 PM PDT by snowsislander
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An expected purge this week of Iraqi judges and prosecutors threatens to derail the much-anticipated trial of Saddam Hussein.
Despite pleas from Iraq's president and concerns that the purge could disrupt the prosecution of Saddam, the committee investigating Iraqi officials for membership in Saddam's Baath Party plans to demand the removal of 19 alleged Baathists serving on the special tribunal set up to try the despot, according to a top official in Iraq's de-Baathification committee.
The list of 19 judges and prosecutors includes Raed Juhi, a judge who has headed up much of the investigation against Saddam and has appeared at his arraignment in July last year, said Ali al-Lami, the executive director of the nation's de-Baathification committee.
The tribunal's bylaws forbid any past Baath Party member from being on the tribunal. The Shiite-dominated national assembly on Monday rejected a measure that would have exempted the bottom three ranks of the Baath Party from the purge.
The purge could cause serious embarrassment for the U.S.-organized effort to prosecute Saddam and his administration for crimes against humanity. It also points to the complex set of forces within the Iraqi government, driven by sectarian concerns and individuals' quests for power, that continue to create political instability.
A spokesman for the American Embassy in Baghdad declined to comment.
Juhi is the head investigative judge for the only case to be referred for trial against Saddam so far - the 1982 massacre of dozens of Shiite villagers in the town of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt against the dictator.
If Juhi and the others are removed, it's unclear how the tribunal would proceed. Of the 19 to be named by the de-Baathification committee, 13 are judges, al-Lami said. The special tribunal has 65 judges in all.
Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, said last Thursday that he would intervene....
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
Yes, I guess that could be considered a best case scenario.
But I am surprised that any Ba'athists were allowed anywhere this trial to begin with.
It appears to me that this "trial" is turning into a farce. Along with the huge number of lawyers who are representing Hussein, now finding that many of the prosecutors were members of the Ba'athist party --- well, had I my druthers, Saddam would just be sentenced and executed. I don't believe that a trial will serve any useful purpose, and if it is televised, could well allow Saddam's defenders to present him as a martyr to the Arab street.