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Iraqi Tribunal to Try Hussein Is Established

Salem Chalabi, nephew of a Governing Council member, is named director. He appoints a panel of seven judges and four prosecutors.

April 21, 2004|From Associated Press

BAGHDAD — Iraqi leaders have set up a tribunal of judges and prosecutors to try ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and members of his Baathist regime, an Iraqi National Congress spokesman said Tuesday.

Salem Chalabi, a U.S.-educated lawyer and nephew of the head of the Iraqi National Congress, was named as general director of the tribunal. The congress was an opposition group during Hussein's regime.

Chalabi has appointed a panel of seven judges and four prosecutors, congress spokesman Entefadh Qanbar said.

A date has yet to be set for the trial of Hussein, who was captured by American troops in December and has since been held by the U.S. military at an undisclosed location in or near Baghdad.

The tribunal, with a 2004-05 budget of $75 million, will determine charges against Hussein and his former officials, Qanbar said.

U.S. officials believe that about 300,000 bodies have been buried in mass graves in Iraq. Hussein's military also used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and during a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq.

Qanbar said the tribunal will be an Iraqi court, not an international body, and will rely on a mix of Iraqi criminal law, international regulations such as the Geneva Convention and experiences of similar panels such as the Rwanda war crimes tribunal.

The judges and prosecutors will undergo training in those areas, he added.

Qanbar said the first group of judges and prosecutors has been selected by the Iraqi Governing Council's judicial committee and Chalabi. Further appointments will be made later.

The committee selected Chalabi as head of the court under a law passed earlier by the council and approved by top U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III. The Iraqi National Congress, headed by council member Ahmad Chalabi, has a committee seat.

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