Saddam defence team plans to sue Bush and Blair

Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer today said that the deposed Iraqi president wanted British prime minister Tony Blair and US president George Bush tried on allegations of committing war crimes.

Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer today said that the deposed Iraqi president wanted British prime minister Tony Blair and US president George Bush tried on allegations of committing war crimes.

Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam wants to sue both leaders, along with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for allegedly authorising the use of weapons such as depleted uranium artillery shells, white phosphorous, napalm and cluster bombs.

“We will sue Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld in The Hague for using such weapons of mass destruction,” al-Dulaimi said in Jordan.

No complaint has been filed to the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands, but al-Dulaimi said Saddam’s foreign defence team will present it “very soon”.

“President Saddam intends to bring those criminals to justice for their mass killings of Iraqis in Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah and Qaim and abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib,” the lawyer added.

Saddam also wants all Iraqis who have had relatives killed or had property damaged to receive at least $500,000 (€408,200) each.

There have been several allegations that the United States used outlawed weapons, such as napalm, in the November 2004 Fallujah offensive, but the Pentagon denied using it.

In November, the Pentagon acknowledged that US troops used white phosphorous shells as a weapon against insurgent strongholds in the same Fallujah battle, adding that they were a standard weapon and not banned by any international weapons convention to which the US was a signatory.

The use of white phosphorous is covered by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which prohibits use of the substance as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas.

The United States is not a signatory to the convention.

US soldiers have also claimed they have fallen ill to exposure to depleted uranium artillery shells in Iraq, but the Pentagon has said the metal does not cause ailments.

Depleted uranium is the hard, heavy metal created as a by-product of enriching uranium for nuclear reactor fuel or weapons material.

Most studies have indicated that depleted uranium exposure will not harm soldiers. But a 2002 study by Britain’s Royal Society said soldiers who ingested or inhaled enough depleted uranium could suffer kidney damage.

It cautioned that there were too many uncertainties in the study to draw reliable conclusions.

Saddam, his half brother Barzan Ibrahim and six other defendants are on trial in the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shiite Muslims after an attempt on Saddam’s life in the northern town of Dujail. They could face death by hanging if convicted.

But the trial, which started October 19, has been complicated by the killings of two defence lawyers, courtroom brawls and Tuesday’s postponement amid the replacement of the tribunal’s top two judges. The case is set to resume on Sunday.

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