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Background

The trial of Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, is an important landmark in the development of international criminal law.  The confluence of international and national legal principles that may stand in conflict at times makes the trial a notable experiment in international jurisprudence.  It is probably the first time a member state of the United Nations has chosen, without the participation or involvement of the United Nations, to bring one of its former leaders before a national court to try him for crimes recognized under international law.  The transitional government constituted during the American-led occupation of Iraq has incorporated, through a legislative act (PDF, 2.22MB), genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity into the Iraqi national legal system.  It also established a special national court vested with the mandate of investigating, prosecuting, and trying Saddam Hussein and other members of his regime for these international crimes and for certain other national crimes.

Last Updated: 07/03/2007