First Published: 2004-12-29

Ramsey Clark joins Saddam defence team

Former US attorney general says his main concern is protecting rights of former Iraqi leader.


Middle East Online

Ramsey has been a firm critic of US foreign policy since leaving office

AMMAN - Former US attorney general and left-wing activist Ramsey Clark is to join the defence team of Saddam Hussein, a spokesman for the toppled Iraqi president's lawyers said on Wednesday.

Clark, who held the office of attorney general under US president Lyndon B. Johnson, "is one of the members of the defence team of president Saddam Hussein," Ziad Khassawneh said. "This honours and inspires us."

The former top US justice official, who arrived Tuesday in Jordan where the defence team is based, has become known as a left-wing lawyer and firm critic of US foreign policy since leaving office.

He visited Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in February 2003 just before the US-lead invasion and has also been involved with the defence of former Yugoslav leader Solbodan Milosevic, on trial for war crimes at a UN court in the Hague.

Clark told reporters in the Jordanian capital that his principle concern was protecting the rights of Saddam, who only saw a lawyer for the first time this month, a year after his capture.

"In international law, anyone accused of crime has the right to be tried by a confident, independent and impartial court, and there can be no fair trail without those qualities," said Clark.

"The special court in Iraq was created by the Iraqi governing council, which is nothing more than a creation of the US military occupation and has no authority in law as a criminal court," he said.

The Iraq Special Tribunal was established by the US-led coalition last December to try members of the former regime of Saddam.

Clark also said the United States itself must be tried for the November assault on Fallujah, destruction of houses, torture in prisons and its role in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis in the war.


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