Saddam Hussein Fair Trial

FNC (Fox News Channel) Fox & Friends – 7/3/04 6:22 AM

(FOX & FRIENDS CO-HOST): Saddam Hussein’s lawyers say the deposed dictator will never receive a fair trial inside Baghdad.

JULIET HUDDY: Joining us from beautiful Miami with his thoughts on the case is former federal prosecutor Kendall Coffey. Hello Mr. Coffey. How are you?

KENDALL COFFEY: Hey, good morning, how are you?

JULIET HUDDY: Good morning. Wonderful. Do you think he can get a fair trial?

KENDALL COFFEY: He absolutely can. But what he’s not going to get is a political trial because the Iraqi tribunal can’t afford it. The people of Iraq can’t afford to have months and months of tirades and rantings the way the trial of Slobodan Milosevic has gone under traditional international tribunals. What they need to do is focus the case, give the Iraqi people a right to a speedy trial, and make sure that this thing doesn’t get bogged down in all kinds of political machinations which is precisely what Hussein’s lawyers are looking to achieve.

CO-HOST: Well, Kendall, why not have his lawyers in court argue “hey he’s not going to get a fair trial because his lawyers have not been able to appear with him inside the courtroom.”

KENDALL COFFEY: Well, I think that’s going to happen and it probably should happen. But by the same token whoever those lawyers are going to be – have to meet some kind of standards that the Iraqi new government is imposing and they have to agree to adhere to the rules of the tribunal. Just as Hussein can’t be allowed to give all kinds of diatribes against the U.S., his lawyers have to behave properly, respect the rules of the tribunal and once that’s assured, he should be allowed to appear with whatever lawyers he can get.

JULIET HUDDY: Kendall, one of the keys to transferring sovereignty was to convince the Iraqi people and the world that the Iraqi government’s interim government [‘garbled’]. Kind of the same thing going on with this trial. We had this guest on earlier today that said essentially when the trial starts you’re going to see U.S. lawyers leaning in and might even whisper in the ears of these Iraqi lawyers. Is the U.S. pulling the strings?

KENDALL COFFEY: The U.S. is going to be accused of that no matter what we do. And certainly we are going to have a role in providing logistical and financial support. But the key thing is to make sure that the evidence is there because if the information is presented in the sort of vivid, compelling way that can and should be, that’s going to make the case, not just in terms of the criminality of Hussein and his regime but frankly, explaining to an important extent, why this change of regime had to take place.  Let’s face it. The Nazi war criminals were tried by the Allies. They did it directly. The verdict of history has been very positive. Why? Because the shocking dimensions of their criminality for decades was vividly demonstrated and that’s what needs to happen here.

CO-HOST: Do you expect any surprises, Kendall Coffey, in this trial. Most seem to think that the trial will be a fair one by the Iraqi’s. But could they themselves pull any surprise punches here.

KENDALL COFFEY: Well, I think it’s definitely something where there could be all kinds of surprises. What they need to do is get it focused because literally millions of people in Iraq are victims. Millions could be witnesses. They need to come up with a singular theory, and I would, for example, suggest the kind of thing that was done in Nuremberg when it was basically a charge of conspiracy where all the participants were part of an on-going criminality that included genocide. In the case of Saddam and the Baathists, it included gassing of Kurds; it included massive graves of hundreds of thousands which were slaughtered. So that, rather than get bogged down in having to prove the personal guilt with direct witnesses person-by-person, you basically establish an on-going criminality in which they were all in it together, all get tried together so that you can prove at conviction standpoint have something that is manageable not something that takes years.

JULIET HUDDY: Joining us from beautiful Miami, with the beautiful sailboat and the beautiful weather in the background. Kendall Coffey, the former federal prosecutor. Thank you very much.

MIKE JERRICK: Kendall’s attractive too. He’s beautiful.

JULIET: -Chuckles-