Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a member of Saddam Hussein's
defense team, on Tuesday said the former Iraqi president's trial was a sham
designed to justify the U.S.-led invasion.
Saddam's trial on charges of crimes against humanity was "a direct threat
to international law, the United Nations, universal human rights and world peace,"
Clark said at a news conference. He demanded that proceedings be transferred
from the Iraqi Special Tribunal to a new court that could work independently,
free of prejudice.
Clark, who was attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson from 1967-1969,
said the United States wanted the trial to "vindicate its invasion, to
validate its occupation, and to make the world believe that the Iraqi people
demanded that Saddam Hussein and leaders in his government be executed."
Clark has become known for his radical left-wing politics and for defending
controversial figures, including ousted Liberian leader Charles Taylor, former
Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in April, and Elizaphan Ntakirutimana,
a leader in the Rwandan genocide.
Saddam's trial has been rocked by the murders of two defense lawyers and one
judge. It is currently adjourned until May 15 but Clark said the defense would
seek at least another month to review documents.
So far in the trial, he said Saddam's defense lawyers have been denied exculpatory
documents and evidence, as well as witnesses statements and court transcripts.
The judges have either been Kurds or Shi'ites, and the defendants with one
or two exceptions Sunnis, he said. "It's a sectarian persecution, if you
Clark said a fair trial in the midst of such widespread violence sweeping the
country was impossible.
He said it should be transferred to a court that was legal, independent, impartial
and competent, working in a safe environment "free of prejudicial influences."
Saddam and seven others are on trial for the executions of 148 people
in Dujail in 1982 following a failed assassination attempt. Clark said those
executed had signed confessions and under Iraqi law, the death penalty was mandatory
"It is common for the law to require the highest official of a
state to approve and sign death warrants. George W. Bush signed 152 such warrants
as governor of Texas," he said.