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Iraqi Tribunal Announces First Case Against Saddam

17 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iraq's special tribunal has announced its first criminal case against former leader Saddam Hussein.

The tribunal's chief investigating judge, Raed Juohi, told a news conference in Baghdad today that Saddam will be tried for the killing Shi'ite Muslims in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982.

Others facing trial in the case are Barazan Ibrahim, intelligence chief at the time and Saddam's half-brother; former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan; and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of Saddam's Revolutionary Court.

About 140 villagers in Dujail were killed after an assassination attempt was made against Saddam as his convoy passed through the village.

Dujail is one of about 12 cases investigators are looking into.

Jouhi said court proceedings against Saddam and the other three people could start "within days." Observers say Jouhi was probably referring to pretrial motions rather than the trial itself.

According to Iraq's justice system, there must be at least 45 days between the time a person is charged and the time the trial starts.