HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CALLS FOR RESTRAINT IN HUSSEIN CASE
28 December 2006Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for restraint by the Iraqi authorities following the December 26 appeal court judgment upholding the conviction and death sentence on Saddam Hussein and two other co-defendants. “The appeal judgment is a lengthy and complex decision that requires careful study. There were a number of concerns as to the fairness of the original trial, and there needs to be assurance that these issues have been comprehensively addressed. I call therefore on the Iraqi authorities not to act precipitately in seeking to execute the sentence in these cases.”
The High Commissioner noted that international law proscribes the imposition of the death sentence following an unfair trial. “All sections of Iraqi society, as well as the wider international community, have an interest in ensuring that a death sentence provided for in Iraqi law is only imposed following a trial and appeal process that is, and is legitimately seen as, fair, credible and impartial. That is especially so in a case as exceptional as this one.” The High Commissioner also noted that under international treaties Iraq has signed, Saddam Hussein has the right to appeal to the appropriate authorities for consideration of commutation or pardon of the sentence.