Saddam Hussein Trial Fast Facts



Here’s some background on the trials and execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Hussein was charged with first degree murder, incarceration and deprivation of physical movement, forced deportation and torture.

Seven other defendants stood trial with Hussein: Barzan Hassan, Taha Yassin Ramadan, Awad al-Bandar, Abdullah Ruwaid, Ali Dayem Ali, Mohammed Azzawi Ali and Mizher Ruwaid.

The Dujail case was tried first because experts thought it was the simplest and easiest case to prove.

July 8, 1982 – Residents of the Shia Muslim town of Dujail, Iraq, fire on Hussein’s motorcade. In retaliation, about 150 inhabitants are executed.

March 19, 2003 – The second Gulf War begins, codenamed Operation Iraqi Freedom.

December 14, 2003 – The United States Department of Defense announces that Hussein was captured on Saturday, December 13, 2003 in a basement or “spider hole” of a farm in Tikrit.

June 30, 2004 – The coalition is handing over legal control of Hussein and 11 other former top Iraqi officials to the Iraqi interim government, but they remain physically in US custody for security reasons.

July 1, 2004 – Hussein first appears in court at his arraignment and is charged with a variety of crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait and the gassing of the Kurds. He pleads not guilty.

November 2004 – Hussein’s family fires his chief lawyer Mohammed al-Rashdan, accusing him of using the trial to seek personal fame. Rashdan is replaced by Ziad al-Khasawneh.

July 7, 2005 – Hussein’s lead lawyer Khasawneh is stepping down because he says the US defense team is trying to take over the case.

July 17, 2005 – The Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) is bringing the first criminal charges against Hussein for the massacre of 148 people in Dujail in 1982. Other charges will be dealt with in separate trials.

August 23, 2005 – Hussein confirms that he has fired all his previous lawyers and is now represented only by Khalil Dulaimi.

September 6, 2005 – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says Hussein confessed via videotape, audiotape and signed confessions to ordering the gassing of thousands of Kurds in the late 1980s.

September 8, 2005 – Chief lawyer Dulaimi denies that Hussein has confessed to ordering executions and campaigning against Kurds that reportedly killed thousands.

October 19, 2005 – Hussein’s trial begins in Baghdad. He and seven other co-defendants appear before Chief Justice Rizgar Amin and plead not guilty to the 1982 torture and murder of Iraqi civilians in Dujail.

October 20, 2005 – Bandar’s lawyer, Saadoun al-Janabi, is kidnapped and killed a day after appearing in court for the opening of the trial.

November 8, 2005 – Adel al-Zubeidi, a lawyer for one of Saddam’s co-defendants, Ramadan, is killed and another lawyer is injured in a drive-by shooting.

December 27, 2005 – Three other lawyers join the defense team: Saleh al-Armoti, Ibrahim al-Mulla and Tayseer al-Mudather.

January 15, 2006 – Chief Judge Amin resigns after complaints that he is too lax with the defendants in the trial.

January 23, 2006 – Iraqi officials appoint Chief Justice Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman to replace Amin.

January 29, 2006 – Judge Abdel-Rahman warns defendants that he will not tolerate political speeches in court. Hassan, Hussein’s half-brother, puts the judge to the test by calling the court the “daughter of a whore.” Hassan is then forcibly removed from the courtroom. In response, several members of the defense team leave the courtroom in protest.

February 2, 2006 – Hussein, his seven co-defendants and their defense team are boycotting the proceedings and intend to stay away from the trial until Judge Abdel-Rahman is removed from court.

April 4, 2006 – Hussein and six co-defendants are charged with genocide by the Iraqi Supreme Court in connection with the Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s. This trial is separate from the current trial over the 1982 Dujail massacre.

May 15, 2006 – Judge Abdel-Rahman formally charges Hussein and seven other defendants with crimes against humanity. Hussein refuses to enter a plea.

June 21, 2006 – Defense lawyer Khamis al-Ubaidi is kidnapped from his home by men dressed in Iraqi police uniforms and killed. Ubaidi had defended Hussein and his half-brother Hassan. In response, all seven defendants in the trial said they will go on a hunger strike until their lawyers are placed under international protection.

July 27, 2006 – Court adjourns to deliberate on verdict in Dujail trial.

August 21, 2006 – A new trial against Hussein begins. He and six co-defendants are being tried on genocide charges for their role in the 1980s campaign, Operation Anfal, in which 100,000 Kurds were killed. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

September 19, 2006 – Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri is removed from the case after telling Hussein that he was not a dictator.

September 20, 2006 – New Chief Justice Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa replaces Amiri.

November 5, 2006 – Hussein is sentenced to death by hanging for the 1982 Dujail massacre. Co-defendants Hassan and Bandar receive death sentences. Former Vice President Ramadan has been sentenced to life in prison. Abdullah Ruwaid, Dayem Ali and Mizher Ruwaid are sentenced to 15 years in prison. Azzawi Ali is acquitted due to lack of evidence.

December 26, 2006 – An appeals chamber of the Iraqi Supreme Court upholds Hussein’s death sentence. Judge Aref Shaheen reads out the court’s decision and says it is the last word in the case. Therefore, according to Iraqi law, Hussein’s execution must take place before January 27, 2007.

December 30, 2006 – Hussein is hanged a few minutes after 06:00 Baghdad time.

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