Tareq Aziz denys shiite uprising role
Tariq Aziz -
Photo : Reuters
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Former Foreign Minister
Tariq Aziz denied any role in the bloody quelling of
a 1991 Shiite uprising and said Saddam Hussein made
decisions on his own, according to a video released
Monday by an Iraqi tribunal.
It was the fifth tape release by the Iraqi Special
Tribunal this month, and the first to include
audible dialogue from a defendant. A tired-looking
Aziz could be heard replying to an investigating
Wearing a traditional white-colored Arab robe with
C1 stenciled in black on its left breast, Aziz said
he had nothing to do with repressing the uprising,
which left thousands of Shiites dead.
''I had no effective role at that time. I was
sitting inside the foreign affairs building,'' he
said. ''I did not have much authority during that
time, but I heard that many top Baath party
officials went to the south, but I had no contact
with them at all.''
added that Saddam was making ''decisions without
discussing them with us because, as head of the
Revolution Command Council, he was behaving as if
his decisions carried the weight of the law.''
Aziz's lawyer, Badee Izzat Aref, is shown taking
The tape also showed a man identified as Saber
Abdulaziz al-Douri being questioned separately. Al-Douri
could only be heard confirming his name and job as a
former intelligence chief under Saddam.
It was unclear why parts of Aziz's testimony could
be heard when previous defendants were muted out.
The video was released one day after the tribunal
issued another showing two of the ousted dictator's
half brothers being questioned about their alleged
role in displacing and killing Kurds.
Previous videos have included one that showed Saddam
being questioned, and another that showed his cousin
Ali Hassan al-Majid, nicknamed ''Chemical Ali'' for
his alleged role in a 1988 chemical attack on the
Kurdish village of Halabja that killed about 5,000.
Saddam, 68, has been jailed under American control
at a U.S. military detention complex near the
Baghdad airport since his December 2003 capture.
He faces charges that include killing rival
politicians over 30 years, gassing Kurds in Halabja,
invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and
Shiite uprisings in 1991.
Although no dates have been set for any of the
trials, senior government officials, including
Justice Minister Abdel Hussein Shandal, have said
Saddam would go on trial within two months or by the
end of the year. They have backtracked repeatedly
following complaints from the Iraqi Special
Referring to speculation over the date of Saddam's
trial, the tribunal said it was the only body
authorized to make such a decision and any other
comments ''are just predictions.'' It has in the
past said no trial date has been set.
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