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Breakfast with Frost
Emma Nicholson MEP
Emma Nicholson MEP
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: EMMA NICHOLSON MEP and JOHN SIMPSON DECEMBER 8TH, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: And now we've been joined by John Simpson, he's back, and we've also been joined by Baroness Emma Nicholson who's an MEP of course with close contact and official positions with the opposition groups in Iraq. What do you feel in this situation we've been talking about, the possibilities of war, the possibilities of not war, what do you feel about the situation from your very emotional point of view?

EMMA NICHOLSON: I serve as repertoire for Iraq for the European Parliament and we are calling in a report I drafted for the setting up of an international tribunal to try Saddam Hussein and subsequently discovered the international criminal court can be used for the genocide against the Southern Iraqi marsh people. Jack Straw's argument, the US current argument on weapons of mass destruction, is just one strand of the destruction Saddam Hussein has wreaked on the Iraqi people. What we're all missing from the argument is the rule of law, we need a Nuremberg trial to try the perpetrators of the genocide in the north and even larger and more freestanding against the marsh Arabs.

DAVID FROST: And the problem obviously is finding the man and putting him on trial we, we couldn't find him last time, all these doubles and all of those things, how would we get hold of him in order to try him?

EMMA NICHOLSON: That doesn't matter because under Nuremberg laws under the 1948 Geneva Convention anybody involved in genocide must be tried from the top to the bottom and we can lay our hands on hundreds and thousands alas of the people who've been in the marshes and destroying the marsh people over the last 11 years. My first speech on it to the House of Commons in 1991 said it was genocide against the marsh people. Now I think I've convinced the US State Department of this.

DAVID FROST: But, but I mean in absentia doesn't have the same power as if he's there and put in prison or hung?

EMMA NICHOLSON: Of course it would be good to have Saddam Hussein himself, but I can tell you having seen the plans and witnessed the destruction of the marsh people, the genocide against them, there are hundreds and thousands of his millions who have been actively involved in wiping out the marsh people, half a million people have been destroyed under our very eyes. We are guilty in not chasing those people from the very beginning, we should do that now and for Halabja in the north.

DAVID FROST: Yes well that was back in 1988 and we went on cooperating with Iraq after that date...

JOHN SIMPSON: We actually also sold some of the equipment that was used to kill the people. I was at Halabja about two days, three days after the attack there and I mean, you know saw the bodies still piled up there for myself and it was a fairly rough...that American companies in particular, we were talking about this earlier I think, and British companies supplied them with some of the chemicals which made that possible.

DAVID FROST: And what, what is the situation you were in touch with a number of opposition groups but I mean I was talking to Colin Powell about and he said we mustn't delude ourselves if we, if we get rid of Saddam Hussein we can't delude ourselves that there is some great Jeffersonian figure who's going to take over and bring trouble-free democracy to Iraq. I mean what sort of state are the opposition groups in?

EMMA NICHOLSON: We didn't say that when we tried to get rid of Hitler, we said that this man had been wiping out the Jews this is genocide which we subsequently defined with the Genocide Convention of 1948. Now of course the opposition groups are not necessarily going to be the people to take over, I foresee a sort of Dayton agreement, a holding position but remember three and a half million professional and other Iraqis in the region, in Iran, in Jordan where I'm just about to go to and indeed in, in Egypt and so on. Those are the people who should form the new government, they're the professionals.

DAVID FROST: But I mean it is difficult isn't it, I mean as we see in Afghanistan, as we were talking about Afghanistan there and we're obviously not going to get President Karzai today, the, the old gremlins have done their, done their work...

JOHN SIMPSON: I remember when they didn't in Afghanistan...

DAVID FROST: No I think this is, this is a flaw in the planning he ought to have travelled somewhere nearby or something. But we see a situation in Afghanistan where any real improvement in Afghanistan is going to need the continuing involvement in nation building of the Americans and the Brits and the, and money from them and weapons from them. So that is the problem isn't it, that we, are we going to get, get that in Iraq - just one thing before - are we going to get that in Iraq, much more difficult in Iraq even than in Afghanistan?

JOHN SIMPSON: Well there's a difference, I mean Iraqis do, by and large, in my experience and I'm sure it's Emma's experience too, they do want to see their, their country as it is, as a state, restored to the kind of respect that it, that it deserves frankly. And that they feel, that was the one thing, one of the things that I thought that, Jack Straw was absolutely accurate about, was talking about the, the way in which it's Iraqis who most hate Saddam Hussein, he's the most popular man in general terms in the Arab countries, the least popular man in his own country and it is going... I think the thing that would be an absolute disaster would be if the Americans decided according to that trial balloon that was floated recently, to have some kind of military control over the place for years and years and years as in Japan after the Second World War, disaster.

DAVID FROST: At that point we must get the update there from Moira on the news.

[BREAK FOR NEWS]

DAVID FROST: Well that's about it for this week, our thanks to Jack Straw who interrupted his scrambled eggs to join us a little earlier than planned. And indeed our thanks to all of our guests, next week we've got a rather special programme, it's the end of the year show, it's the Christmas show, marks the end of the tenth year of this programme, how time flies when you're enjoying yourself and to mark our tenth birthday we'll be running some of the highlights from the past decade, like President Mandela dancing right here in the studio and President Karzai not joining us from Kabul and other, other highlights. We'll be joined live here by Elton John so we'll know he's here, right here and we'll be talking to George Bush Snr, the former American President and we've also been talking to David Beckham.

END


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