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US to Hand Over Saddam to Iraqi Tribunal - 2004-05-11

A senior Iraqi official told reporters in Kuwait Tuesday the United States that has promised it will hand over Saddam Hussein to Iraqi authorities to stand trial for alleged war crimes. According to the head of Iraq's war crimes tribunal, Salem Chalabi, U.S. officials will hand over former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein before Iraq assumes sovereignty from the United States June 30th.

Mr. Chalabi, speaking in Kuwait where he is collecting evidence against the former dictator, said Saddam and about 100 former Iraqi regime officials, including former foreign minister Tariq Aziz, will be transferred to Iraqi control and will be subjected to the war crimes tribunal beginning early next year.

He said those found guilty could face execution.

According to the head of military studies at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, Mohammad Kadry said that there will be intense Arab interest when Saddam Hussein faces his accusers.

?It will be very important,? he said. ?This is the first ruler, the first president in the area to be even judged. I mean I don't remember a case like that in the Arab world, but he should be subjected to a good court and it should be transparent for everybody.?

The former Egyptian army general said he thinks if Saddam Hussein is found to have committed war crimes, the overwhelming majority of Arabs would favor a death sentence.

The Iraqi dictator was taken into custody by U.S. authorities last December after he was located hiding in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit. He has since been held at a secret prison in Iraq.