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Options for Trying Saddam Hussein for International Crimes

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Publication Date: April 2004

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21705

Topic: Law and ethics (International law)

Abstract:

While U.S. courts do not appear to have jurisdiction under U.S. law for most of the crimes alleged to have been committed by Saddam Hussein, several options are available for prosecuting him for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. Precedents include national courts and national and international military tribunals similar to those used in the aftermath of World War II, an international ad hoc tribunal similar to those set up by the U.N. to adjudicate atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and "hybrid" tribunals -- which combine national and international elements. The Bush Administration supports prosecution by a special Iraqi court. Under the Geneva Conventions, if the United States were to turn Hussein over to the Iraqi interim government or another detaining power, it may remain responsible for assuring that the receiving power observe the safeguards in the Conventions.