In response to mounting criticism within Iran of the omission of invasion of Iran from the Iraqi court’s list of Saddam’s crimes, the foreign ministry announced that Iran was preparing a formal complaint. Iran “will definitely file a complaint with the Iraqi court,” foreign minister spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran on Sunday conference, reacting to mounting criticism in Iran of the omission of Iran-Iraq war from the Iraqi court’s indictment against Saddam.
“We will hand over our documents to the court ... We believe the court has to investigate Saddam’s crimes transparently and openly,” Asefi added.
“One of the crimes Saddam committed was his invasion of Iran and starting the war, killing many Iranian citizens and using chemical weapons in Halabja (within Iraq) and other places (in Iran) during the war,” he added.
“We have asked our Charge D’Affairs in Baghdad to seek explanation from the Iraqis on why the attack on Iran did not feature among the charges against him, even though the judge said the question would be addressed at a later date,” Asefi said.
Iraq took legal custody of Saddam from the US last Wednesday, and arraigned him on Thursday. The indictment, read to Saddam by head of the Iraqi special court Salem Chalabi, listed seven crimes, including the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the 1988 gassing of Kurdish villagers and the 1991 killing of Shiite and Kurdish insurgents, but omitted the the 1980 invasion of Iran.
Saddam’s defense team, which includes lawyers from Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya and other Western countries such as the US, Britain, France and Belgium, has accused the interim Iraqi government and the court trying Saddam of being “illegitimate because they were appointed by the occupation.”
“Iraq’s interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, said last week the trial would be open, but earlier he suggested closing it to keep Saddam from broadcasting embarrassing tales about past links to foreign governments. The US government was among those to quietly support Saddam's Iraq in the war with Iran, according to an AP dispatch.
Thursday’s session already was closed in good part, off-limits to the public and all but a few journalists. Saddam’s voice also was suppressed on the videotape aired on Iraqi television and no official transcript has been released, AP said.