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Iran demands Saddam be tried as war criminal

Iran on Sunday demanded that the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who imposed a destructive war on the Islamic Republic between 1980 and 1988, is tried as a war criminal, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"Saddam, the former president of Iraq, must be tried as a war criminal according to the four Geneva Conventions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters here at a weekly news briefing.

The four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and their protocols, set forth the 'laws of war', the international humanitarian law that governs the conduct of parties to international conflicts as well as civil wars.

The Pentagon officially declared on Friday the deposed Iraqi dictator "an enemy prisoner of war" under the Geneva Conventions, provoking strong indignation in the Iraqi circles.

The Iraqi Governing Council members have said Saddam could be tried by June before an Iraqi war crimes tribunal, but expressed irritation that the Pentagon had not consulted Iraqis about his legal status.

Saddam was captured in an underground crawl space near his home town of Tikrit on December 13. He is being held at an undisclosed location said to be in Iraq, but his fate has remains unclear. "What is important is that the criminal nature of Saddam does not change," Asefi said.

Saddam and his henchmen have a notorious record for their crimes, including gassing Iranian forces during the 1980-1988 war as well as the Kurdish population, and brutally repressing Shi'ite and Kurdish uprisings in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Tens of thousands of people also disappeared during his 24-year rule.

... Payvand News - 1/11/04 ... --

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