Background Briefing

<<previous  |  index


Jawad Khadim `Ali’s son Mustafa was “disappeared” at the age of 19 by the former Government’s security forces, as part of a crackdown against the Al-Sadr uprising of 1999.  In 2003, he received information that his son had been executed in May 1999.81  In an interview with Human Rights Watch, Jawad Khadim `Ali reflected on his strong desire for revenge, but concluded that “That is not the way ... I have lived my life and I have buried my son ... I want justice.”82

The first trials before the SICT will be a litmus test for whether it is up to the task of delivering justice.  The charges against the accused are the most serious recognized by the international community, and the SICT must be able to demonstrate that it is capable of trying them fairly and independent of political pressure or apprehensions of bias. 

Fair trials are not only the entitlement of defendants.  They are also a prerequisite for acknowledging the experiences of hundreds of thousands of victims of the former regime in an open, transparent and publicly accessible way.  In an atmosphere of insecurity and great political uncertainty, the SICT has the challenge of establishing its credibility with Iraqis and the international community.  Human Rights Watch has set out several areas of serious concern that need to be addressed by the SICT if it aims to satisfy the promise of delivering justice rather than vengeance.

[81] Human Rights Watch, Ali Hassan Majid and the Basra Massacre of 1999, February 2005.

[82] Ibid, p. 23.

<<previous  |  indexOctober 2005