Saddam Shambles; UK Withholds Evidence of War Crimes (in Case It Breaches His Human Rights)

Article excerpt

Byline: MATTHEW HICKLEY

MINISTERS are refusing to hand over evidence of Saddam Hussein's war crimes to Iraqi prosecutors - for fear of breaching his human rights.

The former dictator is facing trial on charges of murdering and torturing thousands of his own people and British intelligence agencies have a huge file of material from years of spying on the Iraqi regime.

But the Foreign Office claims its hands are tied because Saddam faces the death penalty which is banned under the European Convention on Human Rights.

So, having spent [pounds sterling]3billion on a war in which the allies tried to kill the dictator by bombing his palaces, Britain is now doing its best to keep him alive.

Bizarrely, the Government is also spending millions on training Iraqi judges who will conduct the trial - while at the same time lobbying them not to execute Saddam.

Last night, the families of servicemen killed in Iraq said the situation made a mockery of their sacrifice. Tory critics said the Government should apply for a special opt-out from the convention as many other countries do.

Britain stopped executing murderers in 1965 but kept the death penalty for a handful of crimes including high treason.

In 1985, a protocol was added to the European Convention on Human Rights - which Britain helped found in 1951 - that finally banned the death penalty in all member states. …