Human Rights Watch says change in Saddam trial judge threatens judicial independence

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: The Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 20 September 2006


BAGHDAD, Iraq_A leading U.S. human rights organization Wednesday criticized
the replacement of the chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial, calling it a
serious threat to judicial independence. Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri was
removed from the five-judge panel Tuesday and replaced by his deputy,
Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa. "This appears to be improper interference in the
independence of the tribunal, and may greatly damage the court," said
Richard Dicker, of Human Rights Watch. He said the move reflects the failure
of the statute which established the court to protect judges from
interference and illustrates the "complete lack of respect for judicial
independence on the part of the Iraqi government." Human Rights Watch, based
in New York, has long been critical of the Iraqi High Tribunal, established
to try Saddam and other former regime figures.