"It is here ready and signed, and on my desk," Gurgis Sada said on Sunday.

"Yesterday we announced an amnesty. Today the death penalty. Choose one of them."

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi unveiled  a limited 30-day amnesty for "minor criminals" on Saturday.

The US-led occupation authority had abolished the death penalty, which was in place during the former President's government. 

The death penalty would cover a limited range of crimes including murder, kidnapping and drug offences as well, an official said.

Minister of State Adnan al-Janabi said the measure was effective immediately, but there was confusion about whether it could be applied retroactively, casting doubt on whether Saddam Hussein could be put to death if found guilty of crimes.

Confusion

"Yesterday we announced an amnesty. Today the death penalty. Choose one of them"

Gurgis Sada,
US appointed Iraqi government spokesman

There was also confusion over when the law comes into force and whether it applies to criminals caught from that date or cases coming before a judge from then, there was also no clarity on what method of execution would be used.

The official said the death penalty would go into effect once it had been published in a government gazette.

Last month, Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hushiyar Zibari came under pressure from the European Union in Brussels to oppose the reinstatement of capital punishment, a measure most EU countries abolished decades ago.

Close US ally Britain said it opposed the death penalty on principle. "If the Iraqi government has reintroduced the death penalty we will lobby them to abolish it as we would do with
other states that have the death penalty," a spokesman at London's Foreign Office said.

Amin acknowledged the opposition of European leaders, but said Iraq was not Europe.

"It is true that many European countries today have abolished the death penalty ... but they didn't do it right away after the Second World War," he said, pointing out that Iraq's recent history was like Nazism, Fascism and Stalinism combined.

The European Union has voiced strong opposition to the US appointed Iraqi government's decision to reinstate the 
death sentence.