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Iraqi tribunal takes first steps toward trial of Saddam aides

[JURIST] The Iraqi Special Tribunal [governing statute] has finished preliminary investigations into some of the crimes allegedly committed by Saddam Hussein’s top aides and announced Monday that the first group of five will be sent to trial. The five include Hussein's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti [Trialwatch.org profile], former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan [CBS profile], and three other senior Baath party members. They face crimes against humanity charges relating to the killing of at least 50 Iraqis in the Shiite town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in retaliation for the unsuccessful 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein. Although no date was given for trials to begin, today’s announcement marks the first time the special court has issued referrals, similar to indictments, the final step before trials can start. AP has more. The UK's Daily Telegraph has background on the Dujail crackdown, while the official list of Coalition detainees in Iraq can be accessed here [in Arabic].

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