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Iraq lawmakers criticize delay in 'Chemical Ali' execution

[JURIST] Iraqi Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers on Monday criticized the delay in the executions of Ali Hassan al-Majid [JURIST news archive], better known in Western media as "Chemical Ali," and two others, all of whom are currently being held by the US military until a legal debate on the executions is resolved [JURIST report]. Several legal and procedural requirements for the executions have not yet been met, including signatures on the defendants' execution orders, and the US said earlier this month that the prisoners would not be transferred to Iraqi custody for their executions until all unresolved matters are settled. Some lawmakers called the interference a constitutional violation, and urged the government to carry out the executions immediately.

The Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced [JURIST report] al-Majid and two co-defendants to death in June on genocide and war crimes charges. The Tribunal's Appeals Chamber upheld the death sentences [JURIST report] in September. Under Iraqi law, the executions were supposed to have taken place 30 days after the men were sentenced, meaning that the men should have been executed no later than October 4. Iraq's Presidency Council, including Kurdish President Jalal Talibani, Shi'ite Vice-President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, have nonetheless refused to sign any execution order [JURIST report]. An Iraqi judge said in September that presidential approval is not required [JURIST report] to carry out an execution for al-Majid and his co-defendants, but al-Hashemi reasserted in October that the presidency did in fact have the power to block the carrying out of the death sentences [AP report], regardless of their approval by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. AFP has more.

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