Saturday, December 20, 2003

World leaders should take stand in Saddam trial: lawyer: "Controversial French lawyer Jacques Verges says he is willing to defend Saddam Hussein in court and, if he can, bring world leaders to the witness stand, in what could be a huge embarrassment for the United States, France and other countries."

"He insisted that "all Western heads of state", from the time of the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war to the latest Iraq conflict, should take the stand when the imprisoned former Iraqi officials go on trial. "At the Nuremberg trial, the four allies accused the Nazi leaders of certain war crimes and crimes against humanity," Verges said, in reference to the trials of leading Nazi party officials after the defeat of Germany in World War II. "Right now the former Iraqi regime is being blamed for certain events that took place at a time when its members were treated as allies or friends by countries that had embassies in Baghdad and ambassadors not all of whom were blind (to Iraqi crimes)," he said. "Today, this indignation appears to me contrived," he added. "When we reprove the use of certain weapons (we need to know) who sold these weapons," he said about Iraq's past purchase of arms from France, Britain, the United States and Russia. "When we disapprove of the war against Iran (we need to know) who encouraged it," Verges added."

"Verges also slammed the UN embargo that was slapped on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990 and criticised the US administration's backing of the sanctions, which he said caused the death of an estimated half-a-million people."

Saddam's career of murder goes back to at least 1963 or 1959, and the trial deserves to hear of the involvement of the CIA and other agencies in these crimes as well. In fact, any sort of open trial of Saddam would be an intolerable embarrassment for the US and other powers, which is why no such trial can be held.

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