Lawyer statement on al-Tikriti/al-Bandar executions

Giovanni Di Stefano [Studio Legale Internazionale, Rome]: "On the 3rd January 2007 I saw both Judge Al Bandar and Barzan Al Tikriti at Camp Cropper. On the 5th January 2007 I duly presented to the Iraqi High Tribunal a motion in accordance with para. 266 of the Law on Criminal Proceedings With Amendments Number 23 of 1971 which precludes any execution until 30 days after the notification of the Appeal Court which occurred on 26th December 2006. On the 12th January 2007 I saw both Al Tikriti and Judge Al Bandar at Camp Cropper and right up to 5pm on the 14th January 2007 it was more than clear that no executions would occur until at least 25th January 2007.

Mr Al Tikriti gave to me a letter for the UN Secretary General which I have in my hand and which I am authorized to disclose to the public by Mr Al Tikriti. Further, both men authorised me to make an application in accordance with para. 288 of the Law on Criminal Proceedings which gives President Jalal Talabani the right to commute a sentence. That was deposited with the office of the President yesterday and a copy in my hands. At 6pm I spoke with the US Military and made clear that if there was to be any execution I wanted to exercise my rights - as requested by my clients - to be present. It was unlikely there would be any executions until the 30 days had passed, was the information given to me.

At 4am this morning my clients were executed after I had returned to Rome. Since the executions were carried during a period that (a) was pending a decision from President Talabani whether to commute or not and (b) during the 30 days period in accordance with para. 266 and (c) not in my presence the said executions are deemed an act of murder. It is for these reasons that I have requested the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the events against Maliki personally and members of the Iraqi Government that authorised the said executions during the said period.

The view shared by my clients at our meeting on the 12th January 2007 (Barzan Al Tikriti) are that Saddam Hussein was executed also during an unlawful period because the Iraqi Government did not wish him to continue in the ongoing Anfal Trial since it was a defense strategy to name all the foreign firms (known to me) who participated in the supply of chemical agents and the countries that financed such and that Barzan Al Tikriti feared he would be executed because during the period he was the Iraqi UN Ambassador in Geneva and knew the said events and that Judge Awwad Al Bandar would be executed solely for the purpose of credibility making the said executions seem judicial.

I have in my possession the letter written by Al Tikriti to the UN Secretary General and will make it public as instructed. I will co-operate as will my colleague Issam Ghazzawi with notes and documents assisting the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in his investigation into the crimes of murder by the Maliki Government similar to the allegations faced by Saddam Hussein, Barzan Al Tikriti and Awwad Al Bandar. My colleague lawyer Badar Al Bandar the son of Judge Awwad Al Bandar has collected his father's body. "

Giovanni Di Stefano is an international lawyer with Studio Legale Internazionale in Rome, Italy, and represented Barzan Al Tikriti and Awwad Al Bandar.

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