Salem Chalabi, former head of the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try Saddam Hussein, accused the Iraqi interim government Thursday of trying to manipulate the tribunal for political ends. Chalabi said that despite last week's announcement (reported on JURIST's Paper Chase) that Saddam's trial would begin in October, the Special Tribunal investigations "are not nearly ready for indictments - let alone trials -- which would meet minimum standards of due process." According to Chalabi, "show trials followed by speedy executions may help the interim government politically in the short term but will be counterproductive for the development of democracy and the rule of law in Iraq in the long term."
Chalabi also said that the interim government had concocted politically motivated murder charges against him in order to remove him from his post, due to his insistence on independence for the tribunal and due protection for all defendants. The Iraqi National Congress announced in early September that Chalabi had been removed, reportedly for failing to return to the country to face murder charges. Knight Ridder has background on Chalabi's removal and Reuters has more on Thursday's comments.
Previously on JURIST's Paper Chase...
- Iraqi judge denies political motive for Salem Chalabi murder charge
- Iraqi tribunal head charged in official's murder
- Saddam war crimes tribunal director under investigation