Trial of Saddam Hussein: where are the victims’ rights?

In a report issued today, the ICJ calls on the authorities in Iraq not only to prosecute those responsible for gross human rights violations but also to uphold the rights of the victims to reparation and truth.

In a new report entitled “The trial of Saddam Hussein and the rights of the victims”, the ICJ emphasizes that bringing to justice perpetrators of gross violations of human rights is an essential component of the right to justice of the victims, but not the only one. The report stresses that under international law, victims have a right to reparation, truth and justice, and that Iraq has the duty to provide a remedy and reparation to the victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The report says that: “Victims should receive compensation for the harm suffered and benefit from medical or other relief, as well as rehabilitation measures, and official recognition of the events of the past.”

The report says that after decades of large-scale human rights violations, crimes against humanity and other international crimes, the Iraqi victims have a fundamental right to learn the truth about the extent and circumstances of their victimization by the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

Among others, the Government has an obligation to investigate the whereabouts of tens of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances, to determine their fate and, if dead, to locate their remains and hand them over to their families, so that they can finally bury them and mourn them.

In its report, the ICJ says: “The rights of tens of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein’s repression have been violated for decades: their right to reparation and truth cannot be denied to them another time”.

The ICJ also reiterates its unconditional opposition to the death penalty. It notes that if Saddam Hussein were to be sentenced to death, it would not only go against the global trend towards its abolition, but it would also irremediably destroy a fundamental source of information that could be instrumental in establishing the truth for the benefit of all victims of Saddam’s regime, and not only the victims of the Dujail events.

Iraq-trial hussein-press release-2005 (full text in English, PDF)

Iraq-trial hussein-trial observation report-2005 (full text in English, PDF)

Iraq-trial hussein-web story-2005 (full text in English, PDF)

Iraq-trial hussein-press release-2005 (full text in Arabic, PDF)

Iraq-trial hussein-web story-2005 (full text in Arabic, PDF)

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