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Lawyers for Saddam co-defendants make last efforts to stop executions

[JURIST] Lawyers for Awad Hamed al-Bandar [Wikipedia profile], former chief judge of Iraq's Saddam Hussein-era Revolutionary Court, and former Iraqi intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim al Tikriti [GlobalSecurity profile; BBC profile], the two Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] co-defendants sentenced to death [JURIST report] alongside Hussein for crimes committed in the Iraqi village of Dujail in 1982, are continuing last-ditch efforts to stop Iraqi officials from carrying out the executions, expected this week [JURIST report] even in the face of UN protests, according to an Iraqi government spokesman. Giovanni Di Stefano, a UK-based Italian advocate representing al-Tikriti, told JURIST Tuesday that he has filed an urgent appeal [DOC text] with the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website] arguing that al-Tikriti and al-Bandar may not be executed until the judgment against them becomes final. Although the IHT appeals chamber upheld the verdict [JURIST report] against Hussein and his co-defendants, Di Stefano says that under Paragraph 266 of the Iraqi Code of Criminal Procedure [PDF text], his clients "may request the correction of a legal error in the decision of the Cassation, provided the request is submitted within 30 days, counted from the date a convicted, imprisoned or detained person is notified of the Court of Cassation decision." Di Stefano asserts that the judgment is not final until the Court of Cassation issues its decision in the case and has asked "the Court to prohibit any such execution until the time frame contained within the law is completed and the decision becomes unappealable."

Separately, Di Stefano also said:

On Sunday at 17.45pm a Judge of the Iraqi High Tribunal accepted the urgent application filed by myself and wrote 'and agrees with it'. In short this means that as a matter of pure law (Iraq law) both Barzan Al Tikriti and Awad Al Bandar cannot be executed until such time as the statutory time limits have elapsed. That means that until 25th January 2007 both detainees should not be executed. If they are the Government of Iraq and/or whomsoever assisted the executions may be subject to an investigation by the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.
Finally, Di Stefano has argued that al-Tikriti and al-Bandar have not been properly "notified" of the IHT's appeals chamber decision, despite widespread media coverage of the decision:
I have today prepared a further application to the Iraqi High Tribunal submitting that to date both my clients have certainly 'heard' of the decision of the Appeal Court dated 26th December 2006 but clearly have not, to date, been 'notified' since the Iraqi Authorities have clearly, based upon their own law, failed to comply with the necessary regulation regarding 'notifications' which as we all know who practice the legal corridors has both a common sense and legal meaning. I am thus of the view and will request the Iraqi High Tribunal (Appeal Chamber) to rule on exactly WHEN were my clients actually legally 'notified' because to date Art.206 the Iraqi Authorities have failed to abide and as a consequence para.266 can only commence when legal notification has occurred. That to date has not occurred.
Al-Bandar and al-Tikriti were initially due to be executed last week, but the hangings were postponed due to "international pressure" [JURIST report]. Earlier this week, US-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch urged the Iraqi government not to carry out the anticipated executions [JURIST report], saying that if the executions are carried out, they will further demonstrate Iraq's disregard for human rights and the rule of law in the wake of Hussein's December 30 hanging [JURIST report].

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