What Happens to Saddam?

The New York Times reported Friday that a weeklong training session for Iraqi judges and prosecutors who are supposed to try Saddam Hussein did not go well. Western experts said the Iraqis were not acquainted with the complexities of international law used to deal with mass killing and genocide.

On the other hand, the UN said that Secretary General Kofi Annan had expressed “serious doubts” that the Iraqi court could meet “relevant international standards,” worried that its ability to apply the death penalty went against UN policies, and therefore Annan had concluded that UN legal experts should not assist the Iraqis. According to the article, an Iraqi said he would welcome UN participation because, “It would stop the impression that the whole thing is run by Americans.”

The Washington Post described the UN decision as “a blow to the United States and Iraq’s interim government.” The Post added, “A senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing diplomacy, said the Iraqi tribunals would proceed without U.N. support, with the first trials against Hussein’s associates starting in the new year.”

The articles do not mention the role of Ahmad Chalabi’s cousin, Salem Chalabi. Salem was initially named to head the war crimes tribunal, but has recently been removed from that position because of accusations of his involvement in criminal activity, according to CNN.

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