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Saddam trial procedures outlined at State Department

[JURIST] US officials outlined procedures for the upcoming trial of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] in a special background briefing at the State Department Tuesday. The officials, speaking "on background" because the trial is an Iraqi process [State Department press advisory], said Hussein would appear before three judges of the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] beginning October 19 on charges relating to the 1982 massacre of 143 people in the mostly-Shiite town Dujail, north of Baghdad. Over the past year-and-a-half the judges trying Hussein have received training in humanitarian law and war crimes law from US, British and Australian advisors, including law professors from Case Western Reserve University [CWRU War Crimes research portal]. At one point they even attended a mock trial session in London, England. Hussein will appear alone before the tribunal, probably behind protective glass. Witnesses in his case will be questioned by the chief judge following Iraqi civil law procedure, which is an adaptation of French and Egyptian law. There will be no jury. Hussein has the right to have a lawyer present, to call witnesses, and to appeal against any sentence handed down by the court. Reporters are expected to be able to attend the proceeding; earlier statements by Iraqi officials notwithstanding, no decision has been made on whether the trial will be televised, live or with a delay. AP has more. Case Western law school is hosting a weblog on the trial, featuring expert comentary and primary resources.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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