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The BBC's Jon Silverman
"The regime of Saddam Hussein has committed some of the worst atrocities of modern times"
 real 28k

Philip Sands, professor of international law
with the university of London and Michael Binyon, Diplomatic Editor of The Times discuss the issue
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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Call to indict Iraqi 'war criminals'
Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz is on the list of alleged Iraqi war criminals
New evidence compiled by a secret team of investigators is being used to try to indict a number of senior Iraqi figures for alleged war crimes, the BBC has learned.

Researchers for Indict - an organisation based in London but financed mainly by the US - lists figures such as President Saddam Hussein, his two sons, and Iraq's deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz.


This is a test of resolve of countries to do what they say they want to do

Ann Clwyd MP, Indict
Washington is seeking international support for prosecutions to be brought against them.

European governments now face increasing pressure to detain any of the listed Iraqis who arrive on their territory.

But the BBC's Middle East analyst says no-one believes an arrest and trial is likely in the near future.

And despite the hard-line American rhetoric, many observers feel that Western policy on Iraq is not succeeding.

Prosecutions

A leading British QC has advised that prosecutions could be brought either under the Geneva Convention or the Torture Convention.

He cannot be named for safety reasons.

The chairwoman of Indict, the Labour MP Ann Clwyd, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "As yet we don't know whether the political will exists in various countries in Europe and indeed in the UK itself.

"We have evidence where actions could be taken in the UK.

"This is a test of resolve of countries to do what they say they want to do and that is to bring Iraqi war criminals to justice."

Notorious

The US war crimes ambassador, David Scheffer, has said the Indict list will also be used to try to persuade the UN Security Council to set up a war crimes tribunal for Iraq.

Labour MP Ann Clwyd
Clwyd: "Does political will exist?"
Indict has investigated an A-list of 12 of the most notorious Iraqi leaders, including Saddam, his two sons and Mr Aziz, and a B-list of 31 less prominent people.

One of the listed Iraqi suspects was almost arrested on a brief visit to Vienna a year ago.

Evidence covers atrocities during wars against Iran and Kuwait, internal repression of political opponents, torture of prisoners and attacks on minorities including the Kurds.

The announcement on Tuesday of the existence of the dossier amounts to a challenge to the Russian government to act, as Mr Aziz is on a visit to Moscow.

War crimes tribunals have been set up to investigate crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda but Iraq has so far remained untouched.

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See also:

25 Jul 00 | UK
The war crimes paper trail
25 Jul 00 | Middle East
Analysis: New pressure on Iraq
24 Mar 00 | Middle East
Saddam 'winning propaganda war'
20 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iraq condemns UN resolution
03 Mar 00 | Africa
US extradites Rwandan pastor
15 Feb 99 | ROAD TO THE BRINK
Timeline of the Iraqi crisis
25 Jul 00 | Middle East
Iraq sanctions condemned
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