Saddam Hussein's lawyers say genocide charges serve U.S. political aims in Iraq

Genocide charges filed against Saddam Hussein this week serve U.S. political ambitions in Iraq and will lead to another unfair trial, two legal advisers for the ousted Iraqi leader said Wednesday.

Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general who sits on Saddam's defense team, and Curtis Doebbler, an international human rights lawyer advising Saddam's attorneys, rebuked the new case submitted Tuesday by Iraqi investigative Judge Raid Juhi to the Iraqi High Tribunal.

The new charges address Saddam's alleged role in Operation Anfal, the 1988 military campaign launched in the final months of the war with Iran to crush independence-minded Kurdish militias and clear Kurds from the sensitive Iranian border area of northern Iraq. An estimated 100,000 people were killed.

In alleging Saddam sought to exterminate the Kurds, Iraqi prosecutors were for the first time accusing him of the sort of far-reaching crimes that the U.S. administration used to justify the Iraq war three years ago, reports AP.

According to The Age, Saddam refused to sign documents, saying that only an international court would be fair, and denounced the Interior Ministry.

"It's the side that kills thousands in the street and tortures them," he said, criticising the Shiite-run ministry, which is accused of running death squads by the Sunni Arabs who dominated when Saddam ruled Iraq.

When the judge interrupted him, Saddam said: "You're scared of the Interior Minister, he doesn't scare my dog."

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr is a hated figure among Sunnis, who accuse him of waging a sectarian war against them and allowing Shiite militias to run hit squads with impunity. He denies the accusations.

O.Ch.