Hands Off Cain


Appeal against the death sentence handed down to Saddam Hussein and co-accused

To the President of Iraq Jalal Talabani
To the Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki
To the Minister of Justice of Iraq Hashim al-Shibli
To the President of the Parliament of Iraq Hajim al-Hassani
To the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy Romano Prodi
To the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso

We the undersigned,

Firmly convinced that there cannot be impunity for the crimes committed by the deposed Iraqi regime and that the crimes for which former President Saddam Hussein and his collaborators have been accused represent the most serious violations of human rights for which there cannot be any immunity;
Firmly convinced that the trial of Saddam Hussein, to be a decisive moment to ascertain the crimes committed by the old regime but also to commit Iraq to the principles of responsibility and the rule of law, should be conducted in full respect of the safeguards internationally recognized in order to guarantee a fair and impartial trial, avoiding, in this way, the creation of pretexts and excuses for all those that want to discredit that judiciary action presenting it as victors’ justice, or as a vengeance of the victims against their executioner;
Firmly convinced that the Iraqi penal system as a whole should apply international norms and that, in particular, the trial of Saddam Hussein should apply the principles set forth by the Statutes of the international criminal tribunals that do not foresee the death penalty;
Firmly convinced that the decision to suspend the death sentences taken by the Iraqi Parliament and Government could represent the most evident example of a profound changed vis-à-vis the methods of the old regime as well as a strong signal of the new Iraqi institutions to respect human dignity in the entire region;
We appeal to the Government and Parliament of Iraq so that a death sentence against Saddam Hussein and his partners in crime not be carried out in coherence with the new commitment to respect the fundamental individual dignity that Iraq recognizes as inalienable to every human being.
We call on the Iraqi authorities to re-establish a moratorium on capital executions, which was established after the fall of Saddam Hussein, with the aim of reinforcing the completion of the transition process towards democracy in accordance with the rule of law.
We call on the Iraqi Government and Parliament to consider the establishment of a Truth Commission, or any other similar and appropriate instrument, to ensure, in the full respect of international law, the fullest ascertainment of the serious responsibilities for the crimes committed by the old leadership and, at the same time, to offer the best opportunity to establish the rule of law in Iraq.
We call on the United Nations and the European Commission to express to the new Iraqi Government their dissent concerning the use of the death penalty also against Saddam Hussein, and their support for a moratorium of capital executions in view of total abolition of the death penalty.