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Thursday, September 21, 2006

CrimProfs Michael P. Scharf and Michael A. Newton Voice Their Concern With the Independence of the Hussein Tribunal

Scharf_sm_5From washingtonpost.com: The Iraqi government ordered the chief judge in the genocide trial of Saddam Hussein to step down Tuesday because he said last week that Hussein was "not a dictator," prompting Case Western Reserve University School of Law CrimProf Michael P. Scharf and Vanderbilt University Law School CrimProf Michael A. Newton to voice concern that the dismissal could undermine the independence of the tribunal hearing the case.

"This raises alarm bells," said Scharf, who is also an adviser to the tribunal. "It Newton_3 looks like the government is trying to meddle with the tribunal. This will erode the tribunal's independence and legitimacy further in the eyes of the international community and the Iraqi people."

Michael A. Newton, who is another adviser to the tribunal, said the government's action violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the law that was supposed to grant the court independence.

"For the government to attempt to do this in some sense plays into the defendants' hands, strengthening the argument that the court is a function of politics and not of law," he said. "An equally serious concern is the degree of intensive preparation that this judge has done which will be very difficult to simulate with any rapidity." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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