Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who has led the campaign at Westminster for President Saddam to be tried for crimes against humanity along the lines of the charges laid by the Spanish authorities against the former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, spent three days at the US State Department before securing the cash. "It has not been paid yet, but we know it is coming," said one source. "It has been voted through by Congress." The donation will be announced next week.
The State Department is funding the London headquarters of the campaign, called Indict, and Ms Clwyd, its chairman, plans to use the money to open offices in France and Moscow. She is not receiving any of the cash herself.
Ms Clwyd said: "We are the movers and shakers on this initiative. Indict is dedicated to bring Saddam and his regime to justice.
"The evidence is there. We want to get it all together and bring it before a war crimes tribunal."
The funding will underline the official backing for the campaign, which Ms Clwyd launched at the Commons in June last year, with the support of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the former Conservative premiers John Major and Baroness Thatcher.
The Foreign Office has confirmed it supports the aims of Indict, to bring President Saddam to justice, and is backing moves in the UN Security Council to establish an ad-hoc war crimes tribunal to try him and his key ministers for offences against humanity.
Supporters of Indict believe the decision by the law lords to deny immunity to General Pinochet, as a former head of state in Chile, will help to reinforce the case for action in the UN against President Saddam.
Indict also plans to
target his brother, Barzan Tikriti, who is said to be living in Switzerland, where he no longer has diplomatic immunity.
"Indict's mission is to bring Saddam Hussein and his regime to justice for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. It has received cross-party support in this country and the US," said the group.
Members of the Iraqi opposition parties, who last week met the Foreign Office minister Derek Fatchett, will attend an Indict meeting at the Commons next Tuesday.
Mr Fatchett said the opposition parties should back Indict. "They should be united behind the Indict campaign, which will have a tremendous effect in Europe. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has used chemical weapons," he said.
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