Turning Saddam Over

Reuters – Saddam to Be Handed Over Before Power Transfer

U.S.-led forces will hand over Saddam Hussein and top officials of his former regime to the Iraqis before the handover of power, a top lawyer who is coordinating the toppled dictator’s trial said Tuesday.

“The coalition forces now have more than 100 detained former regime officials,” Salem Chalabi told reporters in Kuwait. “They will be transferred to us before the transfer of power, and they include Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majid and Tareq Aziz.”

Washington has pledged to hand sovereignty to an unelected Iraqi government by June 30.

Chalabi, a U.S.-educated lawyer who is director-general of administration for the special tribunal set up to prosecute Saddam, said the Iraqi trials will begin early next year but added that Saddam will not necessarily be the first in the dock.

He said those found guilty by the tribunal could face the death penalty.

“The punishments against those criminals will include executions,” Chalabi told reporters upon arrival in Kuwait where he will collect evidence against Saddam, whose forces occupied the tiny Gulf Arab state in 1990.

Interesting. This makes sense, given that Saddam’s crimes were mainly committed against the Iraqi people. A well run trial culminating in justice for Saddam should also go some way to establishing legitimacy for the new government.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.