UN calls for fair Saddam appeal

The top UN human rights official today urged Iraq to ensure former President Saddam Hussein a fair appeals process, and to refrain from executing him even if the death penalty is upheld.

The top UN human rights official today urged Iraq to ensure former President Saddam Hussein a fair appeals process, and to refrain from executing him even if the death penalty is upheld.

“A credible appeals process is an essential part of fair-trial guarantees,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said.

The right of appeal of persons convicted and sentenced by the Iraqi High Tribunal must be fully respected, said Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice.

“This is particularly important in this instance, in which the death penalty has been imposed,” she said.

“Those convicted today should have every opportunity to exhaust their appellate remedies in a fair way, and whatever the outcome of an appeal, I hope the Government will observe a moratorium on executions.”

Arbour said guaranteeing the right to a fair trial of persons accused of major human rights violations was very important in ending the impunity that had been enjoyed by those who once committed atrocities in Iraq.

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