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U.S. adviser: Iraqis could try ex-regime leaders

U.S. adviser Clint Williamson
U.S. adviser Clint Williamson

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid is considering the establishment of a court system in Iraq to try those responsible for crimes against the Iraqi people, a U.S. senior adviser said Thursday.

"In all probability we will see some sort of special chamber set up within the Iraqi system composed of Iraqi judges using Iraqi prosecutors who will handle this," said Clint Williamson, the office's adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice.

"But it will be a special chamber, not just going into the normal criminal courts."

Unlike "kangaroo courts" set up by Saddam Hussein, Iraq's criminal courts were untainted, according to Williamson, and they are the first to be up and running. No judges from the court system under Saddam will be used.

"Under Saddam, there were revolutionary courts, there were Baath Party courts, the intelligence service has courts, and there were military courts," he said.

"So most of the people with particular interest to the regime -- and that was when they were prosecuted for political crimes or for what we term national security offenses -- they were funneled through other systems other than the Justice Ministry."

He said none of the judges from those "kangaroo courts" will be appointed to the revamped Ministry of Justice.

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