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Saddam lawyer to seek 3-month adjournment
Updated: 2005-10-19 07:04

The court was expected to agree to his request for a postponement, though it was not clear how long that would be.

There were also concerns by human rights groups that Saddam's trial may be influenced by politicians like al-Jaafari and that U.S. financial and logistical support for the tribunal trying Saddam could lend credibility to charges that it will mete out "victors' justice."

"A pressing issue is whether the trial process can be elevated sufficiently above politics to guarantee fairness and impartiality," said a report issued Tuesday by London's Royal Institute of International Affairs, or Chatham House.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights group, has also complained that U.S. support for the tribunal undermines its impartiality.

"It may also make it easier for those who deny the extent of human rights violations under the former regime to dismiss the (tribunal) as an exercise of 'victors' justice,'" it said in a report last week.

There have been calls that Saddam should be tried before an international court, but al-Jaafari on Monday rejected that, saying "Iraq's judiciary is just and transparent."

In Washington, U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called the trial "an Iraqi process."

"Saddam Hussein is going to have to answer for his crimes, and it is a good thing that the Iraqis are taking that responsibility on themselves, and we'll just have to wait and see what comes out of this," he said Tuesday.

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