Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, December 18, 2003

Iraq's aggrieved neighbors line up to sue Saddam

Countries around the Middle East lined up to Wednesday to sue Saddam Hussein for crimes he allegedly committed against them while he was leader of Iraq.


Countries around the Middle East lined up to Wednesday to sue Saddam Hussein for crimes he allegedly committed against them while he was leader of Iraq.

Kuwait, invaded by Iraq in 1990, became the latest of several countries, including Iran and Israel, to say it was preparing a file on alleged crimes and wanted to take part in any trial.

The Kuwait News Agency quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as saying the foreign and justice ministries had been instructed "to prepare a complete file on the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein against Kuwait and its people."

Saddam is in U.S. custody after his capture on Saturday by U.S. forces from a pit hideout near his home town of Tikrit.

The U.S.-backed Governing Council said he was being held in the Baghdad area and would face a public trial in Iraq. Washington has said it would help ensure the court meets international standards.

After Saddam's capture, Iran said it was preparing a criminal complaint to present to any international court that might try Saddam over the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, in which about 300,000 Iranians were killed, many in chemical weapons attacks.

"The Foreign Ministry has taken some measures on this issue and has collected the necessary documents. I hope we can defend Iranians' rightful demands at a proper place," government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh said on Monday.

Ramazanzadeh said that while the Iraqi people have priority in trying Saddam, "that doesn't negate the rights of others for filing a suit at international circles against him."


Israel, which came under Iraqi Scud missile attack in the 1991 Gulf War, has said it wants Saddam prosecuted for crimes it says he committed against the Jewish state.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told lawmakers during a closed-door session of parliament's security committee on Monday that Israel wanted Saddam to stand trial for the missile attacks and for funding Palestinian suicide bombers.

On Wednesday, a group of Lebanese clerics said they planned to sue Saddam for torture and imprisonment they said they endured while studying Shi'ite Islam in Iraq, home to some of the holiest Shi'ite centers.

"Lebanese clerics who were harmed by Saddam Hussein's crimes have decided to file a lawsuit against the deposed Iraqi president and demand the fate of missing Lebanese clerics and other innocent people be revealed," leading Lebanese cleric Sheikh Afif al-Nabulsi said in a statement.

"In a personal capacity, we also decided to sue the deposed Iraqi president...for what he committed in torture and imprisonment without charge against us," said Nabulsi, without saying how many clerics planned to sue.

A senior official of the State Department said after Saddam's capture that Washington reserved the right to bring its own charges against the man U.S.-led forces ousted in April.

The official, who asked not to be named, declined to say whether the United States might seek to prosecute Saddam for an alleged 1993 Iraqi assassination attempt against former U.S. President George Bush.

In Iraq itself, the Governing Council has said that charges against Saddam could focus on the campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s, the suppression of the Kurdish and Shi'ite uprisings after the Gulf War, and the punishment of the Marsh Arabs.

Source: agencies

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