The FIDH condemns the death sentence against Saddam Hussein, and unfair trial

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) strongly denounces the death sentence by hanging pronounced today by the High Iraqi tribunal against the former dictator Saddam Hussein as well as Barzan Al Tekriti, former Head of the Intelligence services, and former chief judge Awad Ahmad Al Bandar.

FIDH had already denounced the massive crimes for which these three men were being tried: the killing of 148 people and massive destruction of properties in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982, following an attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein.

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.

"This Iraqi Tribunal should have allowed justice to have been done in conformity with the international recognized standards. Thus, it would have been able to contribute to the re establishing of justice in Iraq. It should have revealed the truth that the victims have been expecting for so long about the massive human rights violations and the perpetrators. Instead, this tribunal has been characterized by repeated violations of the right to a fair trial, thus violating the human rights protective norms; this tribunal has failed in its mission", said Sidiki Kaba, FIDH president. "This death sentence will generate more violence and deepen the cycle of killing for revenge in Iraq. It is primarily a settling of old scores rather than any attempt at a just sentence; the whole process is an affront to the dignity and the rights of victims".

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.

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