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:: Article nr. 6287 sent on 13-oct-2004 15:05 ECT
Special Report on the trial of President Saddam Hussein
Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler, member of the Legal Team representing Saddam Hussein
Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler
Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler is an international human rights lawyer. His most recent publication is International Human Rights Law: Cases and Materials by CD Publishing (see www.hri.ca or cdpublishing.filetap.com). Dr. Doebbler is also a member of the Legal Team of twenty-four lawyers representing the former President of Iraq, Mr. Saddam Hussein. Mr. Mohammed Rashdan (Rashdan100@hotmail.com) in Amman, Jordan is the lead lawyer. Everything in this report represents the personal views of Dr. Doebbler or publicly available information. The information provided is limited by Dr. Doebbler’s responsibilities of confidentiality to his client.
October 12, 2004
The Legal Team representing Mr. Saddam Hussein the former President of Iraq consist of individuals chosen by his family. These lawyers also represent the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tarik Aziz. Attempts to communicate with their clients to date have been prevented by the government of the United States. The lawyers are acting on the basis of a power of representation
provided by the families of their clients.
During the latter part of September and the beginning of October, representatives of the Legal Team met with the representatives of numerous UN Missions in New York City, including the Iraqi Mission. Only four missions—the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and European Union (currently chaired by the Netherlands)—refused meetings. These missions indicated that they did not believe international human rights law to be the concern of private individuals, but only of states. At other missions Ambassadors or Legal Advisors met with a representative of the Legal Team.
The meetings emphasized that the human rights of due process and fair trial encompassed both in international human rights law and international humanitarian law were not being respected. On 4 October 2004, a letter was sent to the heads of thirty permanent missions to the United Nations emphasizing that the detention of individuals in Iraq was the result of an illegal invasion and occupation by the United States and that the United States continues to be an illegal occupier and the detaining power over the former President of Iraq. The letter then when on to emphasize the United States’ and al other states’ responsibilities for ensuring the protection of human rights.
The text of the letter follows below:
First and foremost, I respectfully draw your attention to the obligations your government has as a State Party to the Third Geneva Convention as well as under international human rights law, to take all necessary measures to ensure the rights of prisoners of war.
Among these rights is the right of a prisoner of war to receive communications from one’s family and lawyers, the right to effective legal representation by a lawyer, the right to know the charges against oneself, the right not be charged for acts for which by law there was no criminal responsibility at the time they were committed, and, most importantly, the right to a trial before an independent and impartial court. Each of these rights has been, and continues to be, violated. Moreover, the violations are so serious that the damage has become irreparable and must have serious consequences for any future trial.
I also respectfully remind you that under both well-established customary international law and under article 42 of the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention on Land Warfare from 1907 the United States remains the occupying power in Iraq. As is clear from article 42, occupation is determined by a de facto evaluation of circumstances. Only an independent government that has been chosen by the people of Iraq—not merely by the occupying power—can bring the occupation to an end.
Moreover, the United States government undoubtedly remains the detaining power over the prisoners of war who the undersigned represents. The alleged transfer of authority over the prisoners of war that the occupying power attempted to effect on 30 June 2004 was no more than a further attempt to humiliate our clients in violation of the Third Geneva Convention.
As the United Nations Secretary-General has recently indicated and as an overwhelming number of the world’s most senior international lawyers have repeatedly confirmed for months, the United States’ use of force against the people of Iraq is unequivocally an act of aggression and a serious violation of international law. It is, therefore, an eminent matter of international peace and security that the rule of law be restored by your government taking all necessary measures in fulfillment of its treaty obligations to ensure that at
the very least the rights of due process of persons suffering as a consequence of the United States’ illegal action are guaranteed. Your failure to act sends an unmistakable message to the international community that the rule of international law is ineffective and that all legal means of redress have been exhausted. I implore you not to continue to send such a message.
I thank you for your attention and reiterate my respectful regards and my trust that your country will take all necessary measures to ensure respect for the rule of international law.
In on of the legal action that has been brought on behalf of the former President, on 4 October 2004, the United States Supreme Court rejected the former President’s application to file for habeas corpus with in forma pauperis status without an affidavit. The Court essentially stated that the Legal Team must have access to their client to obtain his signature on an affidavit, despite the fact that the United States government continues to deny the Legal Team any access to their client. The Court did not decide the motion to file in forma pauperis, nor the habeas corpus application.
Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler
3003 Van Ness Street, NW, W623
Washington, D.C. 20008
Courtesy of Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler
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