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First Saddam trial may be over by June: US advisor

The first trial of Saddam Hussein could be over by June provided interruptions and delays are kept to a minimum.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 10:11 IST

The first trial of Saddam Hussein could be over by June provided interruptions and delays are kept to a minimum, according to a US legal advisor to the Iraqi tribunal trying the former dictator.

Saddam and other former regime members may then face a raft of other charges of crimes against humanity, likely starting with a bloody campaign against the Kurds between 1987 and 1988, said Regime Crimes Liaison Kevin Dooley.

A form of indictment related to the alleged Kurdish massacre will probably be issued in the next two months, but any trial against those accused will only start once the current case is over, he said.

Dooley, a US prosecutor by trade, heads the so-called Regime Crimes Liaison Office, a Baghdad-based body of legal experts set up by the US government in May 2004 to provide support and advice to the Iraqi High Tribunal.

At present, Saddam and seven co-defendants are being tried for the killing of 148 Shiites from the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, after a failed assassination attempt in 1982.

Despite only convening for seven days since October 19, the court is to start hearing weeks of testimonies from alleged victims and witnesses as well as documentary evidence into the Shiite deaths from January 24.

Once all the material has been presented, the judges presiding over the case will adjourn to draft specific, formal charges against each of the accused, said Dooley, noting that this recess should take a few weeks.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 10:11 IST