Hussein lectures, tries to take charge


Iraq In Transaction

July 02, 2004

The following are excerpts of the proceedings yesterday against Saddam Hussein. They are translated from Arabic and may differ slightly from other translations:

Hussein: So, please let me - I'm not complicating matters. Are you a judge? You are a judge? And judges, they value the law. And they rule by the law, right? Right? Right is a relative issue. For us, right is our heritage in the Quran, Shariah, right? I am not talking about Saddam Hussein, whether he was a citizen or in other capacities. I'm not holding fast to my position, but to respect the will of the people that decided to choose Saddam Hussein as the leader of the revolution. Therefore, when I say president of the Republic of Iraq, it's not a formality or a holding fast to a position, but rather to reiterate to the Iraqi people that I respect its will. This is one. Number two, you summoned me to levy charges. ... You call it crimes.

Judge: [I am] the investigative judge. If there is evidence, then I'll defer it to a court of jurisdiction.

Hussein: Let me understand something. Who is the defendant? Any defendant when he comes to a court, before that there should be investigation. This is not a court. This is investigation. This is investigation now. Let me clarify this point. Then I hope that you remember you are a judge empowered by the people. It doesn't really matter whether you convict me or not; that's not what's important. But what is important is that you remember that you're a judge. Then don't mention ... occupying forces. This is not good. Then judge in the name of people. Then that's good. Then judge in the name of people. This is the Iraqi way.

Judge: Mr. Saddam, this is an investigative process before.

Hussein: From the legal standpoint, you were notified that I have lawyers, right? Am I not supposed to meet with the lawyers before I come before you?

Judge: If you give me just 10 minutes, let's finish the formalities and I'll come to that. Then if you wait, then you will see that you have rights that are guaranteed. ... According to the law, Mr. Saddam, the investigative judge has to give the defendant the charges that are levied against him. And then, reading the rights of all the charges according to the law ...

Hussein: Please, the constitution mechanism - I'm not a lawyer but I understand - I am originally a man of law. Is it allowed to call a president elected by the people and charge him according to a law that was enacted under his will and the will of the people? There is some contradiction. No?

Judge: The judicial process - let me answer this clarification - first, I'm not deliberating a case against you, I'm investigating, interrogating you. Second, the president is a profession, is a position, is a deputy of the society. That's true. And originally, inherently, he's a citizen. And every citizen, according to the law in the constitution, if this person violates a law, has to come before the law. And that law you know more than I do. ...

[Audio gap]

Hussein: Then in the formal capacity, is it permissible to charge an official title? And the person is to be dealt with in violation of the guarantees that are afforded by the constitution. This is the law that you're using against me now. This is the crux of the matter, Mr. Judge. Charges are levied because actions were taken in a system whose president was Saddam Hussein but without presidential guarantees.

Judge: I would like you to sign these documents formally, and this will go into the record. Answer to those charges. This is investigation. Answer. If you read the minutes, we say that we postpone the investigation.

Hussein: Then please allow me not to sign anything until the lawyers are present.

Judge: That is fine. But this is your -

Hussein: I speak for myself.

Judge: Yes, as a citizen you have the right. But the guarantees you have to sign because these were read to you, recited to you. ...

Hussein: Anyway, why are you worried? I will come again before you with the presence of the lawyers, and you will be giving me all of these documents again. So why should we rush any action now and make mistakes because of rushed and hasty decisions or actions?

Judge: No, this is not hasty decision-making now. I'm just investigating. And we need to conclude and seal the minutes.

Hussein: No, I will sign when the lawyers are present.

Judge: Then you can leave.

Hussein: Finished?

Judge: Yes.

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