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Questions over Saddam trial justice
Date: Tuesday, November 21 2006

Questions over Saddam trial justice
By David Loyn
BBC News, Baghdad

The advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has unveiled a damning indictment of the trial of Saddam Hussein, saying it was so flawed the verdict was unsound.

The HRW researchers have concluded that Saddam Hussein and his co-accused did not get a fair trial.

Their specific complaints go right through the court process: the administration of the trial was not done well; and witness protection was not good enough.

Some witnesses were frightened to come forward, while the judges constantly had the "sword at their necks" of being exposed as Baath party members.

This was a "trial by ambush", one interviewee said, in which incriminating documents were not disclosed to the defence until the day that the document was used in court by the prosecution, nor did the prosecution disclose material that might have pointed towards innocence.

And there was a violation of the defendants' right to challenge witnesses.

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