The following statement was released from the defense lawyers’ residence inside the Green Zone in Iraq on Nov. 6. It discusses the Nov. 5 verdicts rendered in the trial of President Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders.
The mockery of the Dujail trial ended today by rendering unjust sentences to execute President Saddam Hussein, Mr.
Awad Al-Bandar and Mr. Barazan Ibrahim Hasan. Mr. Tahan Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Abdullah Kazim, Mr. Mizhir Abdullah Ruwaid and Mr. Ali Diyih Ali also were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.
These unjust sentences issued today by the so-called “Iraqi High Criminal Court,” which is directed by the American occupation, were the result of the systematic approach of this illegal court. This court’s conduct has been marked with showing disrespect to principles of justice and the basic rules of international and Iraqi laws. It resulted in grave and continued violations of the fundamental rules of criminal proceedings. Judges were vested by the occupation from among the enemies of President Saddam and his comrades.
Those judges revealed in more than one instance, and by more than one statement, that they are not impartial, not independent and are thoroughly biased against the President and his comrades. The proceedings of the trial also revealed that the panel chamber, which rendered the conviction, is fully submissive to the will of the occupier and its subordinate government.
Thus, the tried persons were deprived of the basic opportunity to defend themselves. Defense lawyers were assassinated, threatened, insulted, displaced out of their country and dismissed from the courtroom. The defense witnesses were pursued out, arrested and terrorized. Defense attorneys were denied access to the documents and evidence in the case file, while millions of dollars was given to the prosecution to prepare its evidence and call its witnesses.
The proceedings of the court turned into a show to support the claimants’ claims and the people described as prosecution witnesses. All of this took place amidst an utter lack of security and ceaseless threats and terror against the defense lawyers.
It has been evident to all that the government authorities issued plenty of statements and adopted measures showing that the government had prior knowledge of the sentences before they were rendered in the courtroom. In particular, Nouri Al-Maliki called for Iraqis to be calm while urging them to express joy after the verdict. This call came before the sentences were announced by the court.
This confirms what we have said repeatedly—that these sentences were pre-made a long time ago. But they were announced at this time in order to consolidate the electoral campaign of George W. Bush, who is having difficulties with his constituency.
These difficulties are due to the policies of hegemony that seemingly will not end until he washes his hands with the blood of the Iraqis in midday light—not only by bombarding them with weapons and destroying their country, throwing it into a vicious circle of anarchy, civil war and division, but also by killing their leaders and symbols. This has been done for no reason except because they insisted to stand up to face American boastfulness and arrogance and to defend the liberty, dignity and independence of the nation.
The Defense Committee for President Saddam Hussein and his comrades has done its utmost to put the trial on the right legal track from the beginning. In this regard, the Defense Committee tried to demonstrate the illegality and illegitimacy of the court according to all international treaties and conventions and also according to Iraqi law.
The Defense Committee also submitted dozens of legal requests, statements and motions. The court should have halted the proceedings until it considered and decided on each one of these requests separately in order to ensure due process by responding to the arguments.
That has not been the case. The defense requests were neglected and went unanswered. The court issued sentences without considering the defense’s final submissions and without allowing the defense lawyers to make final oral arguments as provided for in criminal procedures for all courts in the world.
The court crowned its violations to the right to defense by dismissing Mr. Ramsey Clark—the dignified American lawyer and the member of the Defense Committee—out of the courtroom. He was moved out in a rough and insulting way after the presiding judge of the first panel chamber openly offended and abused him and threw out Mr. Clark’s written submission by moving his hand in a way that contradicts the norms of judiciary and the morals of the judges.
The Defense Committee holds the court, and those who stand behind it, responsible for all moral, historical and legal consequences of rendering such unjust verdicts. The Defense Committee also considers the court responsible for the blood of the martyred Iraqi lawyers, who were assassinated one after another while they were doing their holy duty.
The death sentences and the other unjust verdicts of today directly contradict all the decisions, resolutions and reports of several international bodies, institutions and organizations, especially the decision rendered by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which concluded that the detention of President Saddam Hussein is arbitrary. This deems the proceedings as null.
The same position is echoed by many reports issued by the representative of the U.N. on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, in addition to many other reports and statements, which were issued by various international bodies about the void proceedings of the trial. They said it lacked all guarantees and requirements of a fair trial.
As a result, the Defense Committee urges all international, Arab and local bodies, parties, personalities and activists, whether political or legal, to take a stand and put an end to this mockery. All should work to halt the proceedings of additional, similar trials, to deem all the unjust decisions of this court null and void, and to prevent their implementation so that the principles of justice and fairness may prevail, the peace and security in the region may be preserved, and the pious blood of the Iraqi people which is being shed in occupied Iraq every day is saved.
Khaleel Dolimi, Wadood Fawzi, Ramsey Clark, Zyad Nijdawi, Issam Gazawai, Mohammad Monieb, Ahmad Siddiq, Javeer Savadera