Iraq: No to death penalty ratification!

Press release
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After the Iraqi appeals court has confirmed the guilty verdict and death sentence against Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) calls Mr. Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, and his two Vice-Presidents, not to ratify the decision to execute the former dictator.

In theory, Jalal Talabani must ratify all capital sentences, but has previously said he would leave "such a job to his Vice-Presidents because of his personal opposition to the death penalty". Therefore, should the death sentence be ratified by the Vice-Presidents, the execution would take place within 30 days.

FIDH already strongly denounced the death sentence by hanging pronounced last month by the High Iraqi tribunal against Saddam Hussein as well as Barzan Al Tekriti, former Head of the Intelligence services, and former chief judge Awad Ahmad Al Bandar.

Previously, FIDH has called for Saddam Hussein as well as other Iraqi high ranking officials to be tried for their responsibility in the massive crimes perpetrated during the Iraqi dictatorship. Therefore FIDH considered the opening of the trial was, with qualifications, "a positive step" in the fight against impunity. Nevertheless, FIDH released its concerns about the ability of the tribunal to guarantee a fair trial to the accused. FIDH has already clearly stated its favour for a tribunal composed of international judges and personnel in order to guarantee a fair trial.

FIDH expresses once again its opposition to death penalty in any circumstance anywhere. It recalls that the death penalty fundamentally contradicts the principle of human dignity proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that the abolition of the death penalty is an aim of many international human rights instruments, including the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The deterrent effect of death penalty has never been proved. FIDH recalls that no International jurisdiction, including the International Criminal Court, admits the death penalty.

FIDH calls upon Iraq’s Head of State to ensure a moratorium on the death sentence pronounced against Saddam Hussein and confirmed by the Court of Appeal.

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