[JURIST] The chief lawyer for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] said Thursday that Hussein has not confessed to executions or directing a bloody campaign against Iraqi Kurds that reportedly killed thousands. Khalil Dulaimi said in a statement to the media that Hussein had not been implicated in the investigations conducted thus far. Earlier this week, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [Wikipedia profile] said Hussein had confessed [JURIST report] to ordering killings of Kurds, but an anonymous source involved with the investigation later said that Saddam had defended his actions [JURIST report] as legally justified. Hussein's trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] is set to begin Oct. 19. Defense lawyers have argued the trial will not be fair due to a lack of time to prepare and statements made by officials to the media. However, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari [Wikipedia profile] said in an interview with a British newspaper published Thursday that delay in beginning the trial has damaged the country [Independent report]. Reuters has more.