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Dear all When I saw that Muhammad had posted a mailing using the title of my own 'Prime Minsiter and Mass Graves' I hoped very much that I was at last going to read a good account, from the pro-invasion camp, of what is and isn't known about the mass graves. Instead what we got was the url of an exceptionally silly article from the Guardian. Exceptionally silly because the author, Christopher Greenwood QC, professor of international law at the London School of Economics, argues for a trial of President Hussein to be conducted by 'Iraq' without apparently having noticed that 'Iraq' no longer exists as a coporate entity, a state. In the passage Muhammad singles out he says: 'It is paradoxical that some of those who have been loudest in calling for the early return of sovereignty to the people of Iraq are unwilling to see this element of sovereignty returned at all.' The restoration of sovereignty - that is of a government created by the interplay between political traditions that are native to Iraq - and the reconstruction of an independent Iraqi state are the necessary prerequisites for an Iraqi trial. Otherwise we are talking about a tribunal appointed by the US, or at least (and this is indeed what Mr Greensood is referring to) appointed by the US-created IGC. Which will have no legitimacy in anyone's eyes, least of all in the eyes of the people of Iraq. And certainly not in the eyes of the world when one of its leading members, one who takes a particularly close interest in the question of war crimes, has himself been convicted of very large scale embezzlement by a neighbouring state. And if we are talking about a genuinely Iraqi trial, following genuinely Iraqi traditions, and genuine respect for real Iraqi culture, is anyone suggesting that President Hussein should be tried by the intellectually powerful legal tradition that does exist in Iraq, that has flourished in spite of many centuries of oppression, that is still flourishing because it is capable of operating outside the structure of a state, and that can reasonably claim to have a universal, therefore international, remit. The one that is based in Najaf? Yours Peter > From: "Muhamed Ali" <Muhamed.Ali@Hackney.gov.uk> > Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 16:40:13 -0000 > To: "Peter Brooke" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "casi" > <email@example.com> > Subject: RE: [casi] Prime Minister and mass graves > > Dear list members, > Below are some extracts form an analysis and its URL link. > "Analysis > Trying Saddam > If a trial is to have a cathartic effect in Iraq, it should be held there - it > is patronising to argue that the Iraqi authorities cannot dispense > justice.Christopher Greenwood.Wednesday December 17, 2003.The Guardian " > "It is paradoxical that some of those who have been loudest in calling for the > early return of sovereignty to the people of Iraq are unwilling to see this > element of sovereignty returned at all." > "But if these problems can be overcome, a trial in Iraq offers both justice > and the chance for Iraq to break with its past." > http://www.guardian.co.uk/analysis/story/0,3604,1108532,00.html > Regards, > Muhamad > -----Original Message----- > From: firstname.lastname@example.org > [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Peter Brooke > Sent: 18 December 2003 09:19 > To: casi > Subject: [casi] Prime Minister and mass graves > > Dear all > > The latest mailing from Radio Free Europe, dealing with the siezure of > President Hussein, quotes our Prime Minsiter as saying: > > 'Let's remember all those Iraqis that died under Saddam. The remains of > four hundred thousand human beings already found in mass graves.' > > It gives as a reference the Prime Minsiter's website > (http://www.number-10.gov.uk) and it can be found there under the heading > 'PM: Shadow of Saddam lifted of Iraq' > > Kathleen Ridolfo, who compiles the collections, goes on to say in her own > voice, under the heading DEBATE ON HUSSEIN TRIAL BEGINS: > > 'In all, it is conceivable that some 300,000 Iraqis were killed under > Ba'athist rule in Iraq, mostly under Hussein's rule.' > > The Prime Minister says that 400,000 have already been found in mass graves. > Ridolfo says that 300,000 is a high estimation of the total number killed, > not all of them directly under President Hussein. > > Marc Azar posted what appears to be a helpful article on the present status > of mass graves ('Scientists to Excavate Iraqi Graves' by NIKO PRICE, The > Associated Press, Saturday, December 6, posted on 8 December). > > It describes the work of a team working out of one of Mr Bremer's palaces. > It may be noted in passing that when the Iraq Survey Group was set up, > searching evidence of President Hussein's crimes was one of its major jobs > with if I remember rightly about 1,000 people assigned to it. But all we've > heard of since has been David Kay's fruitless search for chemical, > biological and nuclear weapons. > > The article gives the usual figure of '270 suspected grave sites' but then > says that 'After seven months of work, the team has confirmed 41 mass graves > across the length and breadth of Iraq' (this presumably includes the Kurdish > areas were the graves left over from the Anfal campaign and the Halabja > bombing could have been investigated at any time over the past ten years if > Messrs Barzani and Talabani had attached any importance to the matter). > > By 'confirmed' we learn is meant that someone has reported that they saw a > mass grave being created and satellite imagery has discovered that traces of > gypsum had appeared at the same place at the same time the observer > reported. Gypsum is taken as evidence that the soil had been disturbed. > > Does this mean that gypsum wasn't spotted at any of the rest of the 270 > sites? > > Of these 41 sites only 4 are going to be explored immediately, in January. > These are suitable for exploration because the work can be done secretly - > they are out of sight of the population. The reason given for this is 'to > prevent relatives from disturbing them first.' I would have had a lot more > sympathy if security had been given as a reason since obviously such a team > would be very vulnerable. > > The view that it is to prevent the relatives knowing about it is odd when > 'Adnan Jabbar al-Saadi, a lawyer with Iraq's new Human > Rights Ministry' is quoted as saying "It's as easy to find mass graves in > Iraq as it once was to find oil" and this was confirmed in a mail from > Ghazwan. Also by definition the US group is looking at graves they have been > told about by Iraqis so knowledge of them is already out. > > Somewhere in the news mailings, incidentally, but I can't find it, is a note > to the effect that according to the UN definition the presence of three > bodies is enough to constitute a 'mass grave'. > > All this is really just to indicate the looseness and irresponsibility of Mr > Blair's reference to 'four hundred thousand human beings already found in > mass graves' > > Peter > > > _______________________________________________ > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk > > _______________________________________________ > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > To contact the list manager, email email@example.com > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk > _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk