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Iraqi council OKs war crimes tribunal

U.S. administrator must sign off on plan to try Saddam's regime

Iraqi civil defense members arrest a driver at a military checkpoint near Balad, north of Baghdad, on Monday.
Iraqi civil defense members arrest a driver at a military checkpoint near Balad, north of Baghdad, on Monday.

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Iraqi Governing Council
Human Rights Tribunal
Unrest, Conflicts and War

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council voted Monday to create a human rights tribunal to prosecute those who committed atrocities and other crimes under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Councilmember Mahmood Al Uthman said the resolution creating the tribunal will be sent to L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq. Bremer's signature is required for the proposal to become law.

Dara Noor al-Din, an Iraqi judge who led a panel that drafted the statute, said the tribunal will include five Iraqi judges and will target the most important members of Saddam's ousted government. It also will prosecute other unspecified crimes.

Much of the process is in an early state, the council said.

The accused will be able to select attorneys for their defense, or the tribunal will appoint lawyers if necessary, council members said.

Judges and lawyers involved in the prosecution will be vetted by a select committee and trained by an international committee of lawyers, members said. Additionally, the council said the tribunal is expected to consult courts at The Hague, Netherlands, and in Rwanda.

In other moves in Iraq, U.S. forces conducting raids near the northern town of Samarra found nearly $2 million they believe was to be used to finance attacks on the coalition, a 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman said Monday.

On Sunday, troops were targeting a midlevel financier, the spokeswoman said, and found his son -- with Iraqi identification linking him to the financier -- and $1.9 million in U.S. money. No further details were available.

"This is money they won't be able to use to finance activities against coalition forces or to finance attacks on U.S. forces," the spokeswoman said.

Soldiers killed in separate incidents

Meanwhile, attacks from anti-coalition insurgents continue.

At least two U.S. soldiers were killed Monday when a bridge collapsed near Balad, overturning two of the Army's Stryker fighting vehicles.

A Pentagon official told CNN that one of the Strykers landed upside-down in the water below, and that at least two soldiers died.

The Stryker is the Army's new wheeled light armored vehicle. A Stryker brigade from Fort Lewis, Washington, arrived in Iraq last week.

Also Monday, a U.S. soldier from the 101st Airborne Division was killed in a drive-by shooting while on patrol at a gas station in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, military spokesman Maj. Trey Cate said.

The Army has been patrolling the city's gas stations as a fuel shortage has prompted long lines.

On Sunday, another 101st Airborne Division soldier died in northwestern Mosul when a roadside bomb struck a convoy, Master Sgt. Kelly Ann Tyler said.

Since the war began in March, 446 U.S. troops have died, including 308 from hostile fire, according to the U.S. military.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, troops with the 173rd Airborne Brigade fought off an attack launched from a truck but were unable to find the attackers after disabling the vehicle, a U.S. military spokeswoman said. The troops found between 100 and 150 rocket-propelled grenades, the spokeswoman said.

Other development

• In a ceremony Monday in the courtyard of Baghdad's fledgling police academy, 250 members of the seventh class of Iraqis to complete training there since Saddam's ouster received their diplomas. They were issued certificates noting their successful completion of a three-week course, which included human rights training, policing principles and techniques, and Iraqi criminal laws and procedures. They bring the total number of academy graduates to about 1,500.

CNN's Maria Arbelaez, Jane Arraf, Tomas Etzler and Alphonso Van Marsh contributed to this report.

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