Iraqis press for war trials
Wednesday 15 January 1997
The Iraqi opposition, which opens its campaign for war crime indictments against Saddam Hussein's henchmen in London tonight, has even catalogued the wickedness of the "little men", the military officers whose names are largely unknown in the West.
There is Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel-Karim Al-Jouhaifi, "directly responsible for the murder and burning of 700 women, children and elderly persons" in Sourey; Major General Rashaash Al-Imara, accused of participating in the chemical bombing of the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988; and Major General Hisham Fakhri, a military governor who allegedly participated in mass executions in Basra in 1991. Saddam Hussein and his son Uday would face - if the Iraqi opposition had its way - charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
But who believes the Iraqi regime will ever go on trial? The Iraqi National Congress (INC), which lost dozens of supporters to President Saddam's death squads in last year's Iraqi offensive in Kurdistan, claims there is a case in international law. So apparently does Warren Christopher, the former US Secretary of State, and his successor, Madeleine Albright. So does Ann Clwyd, MP, who will host tonight's opening campaign at the House of Commons for Iraq's leadership to be brought before an international tribunal. True, Baroness Thatcher, Danielle Mitterrand, Lord Archer and others support the campaign.
But the atrocities in Bosnia proved how difficult it was to institute due process against war criminals. So who will overthrow Saddam and hunt down the guilty men? Not the INC, who suffered from a bloody debacle in northern Iraq last year. Certainly not the Western powers which chose to allow Saddam to fight again another day when Kuwait was liberated in 1991.And if Tehran rather than Baghdad becomes America's new Enemy Number One in the Middle East, then Saddam may be needed - as he was in 1980 - to re-invade Iran.
Western leaders are indeedoddly uneasy about putting Saddam in the dock. While sending good wishes to the Iraqi opposition's campaign, John Major has talked of the difficulty of establishing "meaningful legal proceedings" under the Geneva Conventions or the International Court of Justice.
Even odder is the Government's supposed determination to see Saddam dethroned but its preparedness to allow into Britain the Iranian opposition groups based in Baghdad, who live under the protection and with the active support of a well known name who tops the list of the Iraqi opposition's "indictments": Saddam Hussein.
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...