- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 1, 2004

BAGHDAD (UPI) — The following are translated excerpts of the transcript of Saddam Hussein’s arraignment yesterday in Baghdad:

JUDGE: Name?

SADDAM: Hussein Majid, the president of the Republic of Iraq. …

JUDGE: Profession? Former president of the Republic of Iraq?

SADDAM: No, present. Current. It’s the will of the people. …

JUDGE: Mr. Saddam, I am the investigative judge of the central court of Iraq.

SADDAM: So that I have to know, you are an investigative judge of the central court of Iraq? What resolution, what law formed this court? … Oh, the coalition forces? So you are an Iraqi that — you are representing the occupying forces?

JUDGE: No, I’m an Iraqi representing Iraq. … I was appointed by a presidential decree under the former regime. … I am a judge. In the former regime, I respect the judges. And I am resuming and continuing my work.

You, as any other citizen, you have to answer to any accusation or charge, that’s true. This is an arraignment, a charge. If it can be proven, then you will be convicted. If not, then everything is fine. The judicial due process is to bring back rights. If there’s evidence, you’ll be convicted. If there’s no evidence, you will not. …

SADDAM: Are you a judge? You are a judge? And judges, they value the law. And they rule by the law, right? Right? …

When I say [I am the] 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 — no, I — you call it crimes.

JUDGE: The investigative judge — if there is evidence, then I’ll defer it to a court of jurisdiction.

SADDAM: Let me understand something. Who is the defendant? Any defendant when he comes to a court, before that there should be investigation.

JUDGE: This is not a court. This is investigation. This is investigation now. …

SADDAM: 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. OK. Go ahead.

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. …

SADDAM: The first step is, these articles, were they not signed by Saddam Hussein? Yes, this is the law that was in 1973. So then Saddam Hussein was representing the leadership and signed that law. So now you are using the law that Saddam signed against Saddam. Saddam was the people.

Please, the constitutional 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? …

JUDGE: So the crimes, the charges: intended killing by using chemical weapons in Halabja.

SADDAM: No.

JUDGE: Second, intended killing of a great number of Iraqis in 1983.

Three, intended killing of a number of members of political parties without trials.

Fourth, intended killing of many of the Iraqi religious people.

Fifth, intended killing of many Iraqis in Anfal without any evidence against it.

The [last] charge is against Saddam Hussein as president of the republic and the commander in chief of the army. And the army went into Kuwait.

SADDAM: Even though this was not an invasion. Will the law judge Saddam Hussein because he defends Iraq?

JUDGE: You are in a legal hearing and we will not allow you to speak in any way that is disrespectful to this court. …

I would like you to sign these documents formally, and this will go into the record. Answer to those charges. …

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

JUDGE: That is fine. But this is your …

SADDAM: 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. …

SADDAM: 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 a hasty decision-making now. I’m just investigating. And we need to conclude and seal the minutes.

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

JUDGE: Then you can leave.

SADDAM: Finished?

JUDGE: Yes.

Transcript provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.

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