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UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS INDEPENDENT EXPERT REITERATES CONCERNS ABOUT DEATH SENTENCE ON FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF IRAQ

HR/07/40
16 March 2007

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, issued the following statement today:

“Following the recent dismissal of the appeal by Taha Yassin Ramadan against the death sentence imposed by the Iraqi High Tribunal, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers deems it necessary to reiterate his concerns expressed earlier in his press statements of 28 December 2006 and of 24 January 2007.

In its decision of 12 of February 2007, the Appeals Chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal had not addressed the grave shortcomings of the first instance trial, but had expressed dissatisfaction with the life sentence imposed on Ramadan, describing it as too lenient, and had sent his case back to the trial court for it to be increased to death, shortly after the much criticized executions of Saddam Hussein, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamad al-Bandar. On 14 March 2007, all nine members of the appeals court ratified the death sentence on Taha Yassin Ramadan.

The shortcomings of the trial are related to the lack of observance of international human rights standards and principles, in particular the right to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal and the right to adequate defense, as stipulated inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Iraqi High Tribunal has violated international standards on due process: therefore it is not in a position to sentence Taha Yassin Ramadan to death.

The Special Rapporteur urges the Iraqi Government not to carry out the death sentence imposed upon Taha Yassin Ramadan following what appears to have been a procedurally flawed legal process”.
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For use of the information media; not an official record