Agence France-Presse – 2004-07-28 22:54:11
BAGHDAD (July 23, 2004) — Lawyers for ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights calling on France to make the United States respect the Geneva Conventions.
The complaint is based on article one of the Geneva Convention, which calls on all signatories to “respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances”, Emmanuel Ludot, one of Saddam’s lawyers, said yesterday.
According to Saddam’s defence team, Washington “has not respected the Geneva Convention at all”, specifically articles 85 and 105 which detail the required living conditions for prisoners of war and provisions for their representation.
Ludot said Saddam’s lawyers “are physically incapable of meeting their client as the detaining power has acted in such a way as to paralyse the rights of the defence, pure and simple”.
Saddam’s Detention Violates Rights Conventions
The case also refers to the European Convention on Human Rights, which stipulates that all defendants have the right to the time and facilities needed to prepare their defence, and to question all necessary witnesses.
He explained that the legal team opted to file its complaint against France because it is a signatory to both the Geneva Conventions and the European Convention on Human Rights.
France “can thus defend its image as a defender of human rights”, Ludot added.
The court, which is based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, confirmed that the complaint had been filed on Tuesday, but that it refused to examine the case on an emergency basis, or within a month’s time.
The court will first review whether it is competent to hear the case, a process that could take several months. It would subsequently rule on the merits. A court official said that such a case had never been filed.
Saddam appeared before a Special Iraqi Tribunal in Baghdad on July 1 for an initial hearing on seven charges of crimes against humanity.
Last month, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a complaint filed by lawyers for Saddam, who had asked that Britain be barred from turning him over to Iraqi custody.
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