U.S. pushing war crimes charges against Iraq's Saddam Hussein
From State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel
August 18, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is pushing the U.N. Security Council to facilitate a war crimes indictment against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as part of a more accelerated effort to topple his regime, CNN has learned.
A senior Clinton administration official likened the situation to the recent indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on war crimes charges by an international tribunal investigating alleged atrocities in the Balkans.
"Once he's indicted by a credible court, it's more difficult to conduct business, because then you're dealing with thugs," the official said.
However, U.S. officials say that two of the five permanent members of the Security Council -- Russia and China -- are so far opposed to the indictment, which would come from an ad hoc tribunal set up by the council.
The United States has been engaged in what one official describes as a "massive collection of evidence against Saddam Hussein" and believes an international court would be able to indict the Iraqi leader based on the doctrine of "universal jurisdiction."
That same justification was used by Spanish courts in trying to get the British government to extradite former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet to face war crimes charges brought by a Spanish magistrate. A final decision on Pinochet's fate is pending.
In a related matter, CNN has also learned that the United States has raised questions with the Austrian government over the recent presence in Vienna of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a key ally of Hussein and vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council.
Al-Douri was allowed into Austria earlier this month for medical treatment. The United States wanted the Austrian government to arrest him and hold him until he could be charged with war crimes.
"It's more an issue of asking Austria, 'How did he get there? How do they justify medical treatment? Why is Austria coddling this guy?" said a U.S. official.
On Wednesday, al-Douri left Vienna on a flight to Amman, Jordan, the Associated Press reported.
Mission accomplished, U.N. disarmament team leaves Iraq
The United Nations
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