January 24, 2008

Iraqi trial judges make first public appearance abroad to speak at Case Western Reserve University School of Law January 29

Case Western Reserve Web site first to post English translation of Anfal Trial genocide conviction that sentenced "Chemical Ali" and others to death


Case Western Reserve University's School of Law will host a live presentation by five Iraqi High Tribunal judges on Tuesday, January 29. The free, public event will be held in the School of Law's Moot Courtroom (A59), 11705 East Boulevard, at 4 p.m.

Six months ago, the Iraqi High Tribunal convicted "Chemical Ali" (Ali Hassan al-Majid) and five other military leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime of international crimes related to their roles in a three-year crackdown of northern Iraqi Kurds known as the Anfal campaign. The Tribunal's judgment marks one of the only times in history individuals have been convicted of genocide—the worst crime known to humankind.

Through translators, the judges and other officers of the Iraqi High Tribunal will be on campus to discuss the challenges faced, the precedent that their historic judgment set and the question of fairness in the proceedings. This will mark the judges' first public appearance outside of Iraq. A transcript of the session will be posted on the law school's award-winning "Grotian Moment" Web site: http://law.case.edu/grotian-moment-blog.

"Though the Anfal trial received less media attention than the earlier trial which featured Saddam Hussein as a defendant, Anfal was by far the more important case," said Case Western Reserve law professor Michael Scharf. "This was the real 'Mother of all Trials.'"

Scharf, director of the school's Cox Center War Crimes Research Office and Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, trained the five Iraqi Tribunal judges, and is the co-author of an upcoming book about the Saddam Trial, "Enemy of the State," to be published by St. Martin's Press.

In advance of the event, the law school recently posted the just-completed English translation of the Anfal Trial Judgment on the Grotian Moment Website. This is the only place in the world where researchers can read the historic opinion, whose 900 pages detail the legal and factual conclusions of the Tribunal.

The Anfal campaign, which began in 1986 and lasted until 1989, featured the use of conventional and chemical warfare against the Kurdish population. Over 100,000 people were killed and 4,000 villages were wiped off the map. Hassan al-Majid, one of Saddam Hussein's most feared henchmen who directed the Anfal Campaign, and two other co-defendants were sentenced to death by the Tribunal, while two others received life imprisonment. Saddam Hussein himself was a defendant in the trial, but was executed in December of 2006 for his role in an unrelated massacre.

This program is part of the law school's year-long series to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, which has included a day-long symposium that featured Robert Petit, the Chief Prosecutor of the Cambodian Genocide Tribunal; the October 16 Cox Center Humanitarian Award Lecture by Luis Moreno Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and the January 15 Klatsky Human Rights Lecture by W. Michael Reisman.

The law school provides research assistance to five war crimes tribunals, including the Iraqi High Tribunal, and has a special program in which students spend a semester interning at the international tribunals. Currently, third-year law student Brianne Draffin is serving as a judicial clerk at the Sierra Leone Tribunal trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Scharf has not only trained the judges of the Iraqi Tribunal, but several of the other courts as well.

Per rules of the United States State Department, print media coverage of this event is permitted, as long as the only names that appear in print are those of the Chief Judge and Chief Prosecutor, whose faces were televised during the trial. The names of other judges can not appear in print and video of any and all judges is prohibited.

For more information contact Jason Tirotta, 216.368.6890.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, January 24, 2008 10:30 AM | News Topics: Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, School of Law

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