Saddam Aides to Appear Before Tribunal Next Month.

Some of Saddam Hussein's top lieutenants will appear next month before a special Iraqi tribunal set up to try them for crimes against humanity, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said Monday. He said Saddam's own trial would not begin until next year because of the complexity of the case.

``You will see the process unfold in the next two to three weeks,'' Salih said at a news briefing in London. He was referring to what would be the tribunal's first proceedings since Saddam and 11 associates appeared before a U.S.-appointed judge in July to be told that they were being investigated for crimes against humanity.

Salih said two men who could reappear in the dock soon were Ali Hassan al-Majid and Watban Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, but added that it was up to the tribunal to decide.

Majid is a once-feared cousin of Saddam known to his foes as ``Chemical Ali'' for his alleged role in using poison gas against Kurds and Iranians. Tikriti is one of three of half-brothers of the toppled dictator and was one of his advisers.

Salih said the special tribunal had appointed a president and a spokesman, as well as lawyers for the defendants.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi called in September for the tribunal to speed up its proceedings against Saddam and his aides and to begin trials before elections due in January.

The tribunal's ousted chief administrator, Salem Chalabi, accused Allawi at the time of manipulating the court to boost his popularity and planning hasty show trials and executions.

[Source: New York Times Online, NY, 29Nov05]

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