For a fair trial

THIS is becoming dangerously predictable. Yet another lawyer associated with the trial of Saddam Hussein has been killed. Khamis al Obeidi was the third lawyer of the defence team to be eliminated since the trial began last year.

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Published: Fri 23 Jun 2006, 11:11 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:14 PM

Al Obeidi is said to have been taken for ‘questioning’ by uniformed men from the notorious Interior Ministry. His bullet riddled body was later found in a Baghdad neigbourhood.

It should be clear by now to the US and Iraqi authorities — if it hasn’t already —that a ‘free and fair’ trial of the former president and his lieutenants is not possible in the conditions prevailing in Iraq today. How could you expect a just trial when the accused, defence, prosecution, judge and just about everyone associated with the case is facing a clear and present danger? After all, security of the accused and independence of judiciary are the basic requirements for a credible judicial process. Which is not the case in this trial. Three defence lawyers have been assassinated. Last year, the former chief judge in the trial, Rizgar Amin, a Kurdish, quit succumbing to the pressure brought on him by the powers that be.

It is important to offer a fair and free trial to Saddam and his cronies, not just because it is the right thing to do but also because the former dictator must see the justice he denied his people. The best thing to do under the circumstances, as this paper has argued before, is to shift this trial to a neutral country where both the prosecution and defence are free of all pressure and interference from any side.

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