Saddam Hussein judgment contained serious factual, legal errors: HRW

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website] judgment [PDF text] convicting former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and other co-defendants of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive; BBC verdict summary] was plagued by serious factual and legal errors, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) briefing paper [PDF text; press release] released Friday. HRW found that the judgment relied solely on the defendants' governmental position or status as Ba'ath Party members to find that the defendants had the "knowledge and intent to commit the crimes." The report also found that the judgment did not establish clear lines of operational control needed to establish the culpability of the higher officials for the acts of the military.

The report also found serious flaws in the decision issued by IHT Appeals Chamber, including instances where it came to faulty legal conclusions based upon factual findings never made by the Trial Chamber. HRW says that the trial was also plagued by political interference from the Iraqi government and emphasized that the procedural and substantive deficiencies in the Dujail trial remain prevalent in the Anfal genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline], where six former Hussein-era defendants are facing genocide charges for their alleged involvement in the slaughter of thousands of Kurds during the 1988 "Anfal campaign" [HRW backgrounder].

 

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