Baghdad, Dec. 10 (Reuters): Iraq formally established a special tribunal today to prosecute members of Saddam Hussein’s deposed regime for crimes against humanity, paving the way for trials of the fugitive leader’s top lieutenants.
Officials in the US-led administration say the trials will be held in Iraq with Iraqi judges, although foreign judges may also take part as observers. Of the 55 Iraqis on a US most-wanted list, 38 have been captured and two killed. Officials say trials would begin next year with the prosecution of some of the 38 in custody.
The head of the US-backed governing council Abdel Aziz al-Hakim said the tribunal will try ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in absentia. The US will hand over key members of Iraq’s former regime to face the special tribunal. Hakim told a news conference that Iraqis who had committed crimes against humanity during wars with Iran and Kuwait could also face the tribunal, being set up to account for Saddam’s murderous rule.
In Mosul, gunmen opened fire today on US soldiers guarding a fuel station. One soldier was killed and one wounded, the US 101st Airborne Division said.
In the firefight, a member of the Kurdish peshmerga militia, allied to the US military was killed by American soldiers.
“A car stopped opposite our headquarters with four men inside. They opened fire at the Americans and also in our direction,” said Mirhan Nouri, the peshmerga officer responsible for security at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headquarters in Mosul.