Doubts voiced over Saddam's trial

Prosecutors are facing numerous challenges in building a case against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein due to lack of witnesses and evidence.

    Any public prosecution could embarrass world leaders

    According to a British official quoted by a British newspaper on Monday, there is no proof to date that the ousted Iraqi leader is guilty of many of the atrocities which many are convinced he committed.
      
    Although US-led occupation forces have caught 40 of the 55 people on its list of most-wanted Iraqis linked to Saddam's former government, none of them will testify for the prosecution - the unnamed official told The Times. 
      
    The newspaper's source also alleged that the former president had hidden any written proof of his direct responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
      
    "Saddam was very clever at power-laundering, which meant that decisions were filtered down to junior levels, making it difficult to prove a direct line of responsibility", the source claimed. 
      
    No defence access

    Hussein has been in US custody in an undisclosed location since his capture on 13 December, and is due to be tried along with other members of his ousted government by a special tribunal. 
      
    He is likely to be tried for the persecution of the Shia Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as for alleged war crimes against Kuwait.
      
    Iran is also believed to be preparing a formal complaint against him for the torture of Iranian prisoners captured during the 1980-1988 war.
      
    A 20-member defence team appointed by Saddam's family has complained about not being able to meet its client and accused the US authorities of holding him in breach of the Geneva Conventions. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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