March 02, 2005

Saddam Hussein Tribunal Judge, Lawyer Killed

A judge and lawyer responsible for the prosecution of the crimes committed by the Saddam Hussein regime have been assassinated in Iraq. Judge Barwez Mohammed Mahmoud al-Merwani--a leading Kurdish politician--and his son, lawyer Aryan Barwez al-Merwani, were murdered as they tried to get into a car outside their home. Earlier reports that the Chief Judge, a man who's identity was secret until anti-war activist and reporter Robert Fisk outed him last summer, had been killed proved false.

Over 100 judges are working on various cases against former Hussein regime members. At least five former Saddam Hussein regime members have already been charged with 'crimes against humanity'.

This is further evidence that a key component of the insurgency is in Saddam Hussein loyalists. As reported here earlier yesterday, the Baathist party has been revised and is now working with jihadis to overthrow democratic rule in Iraq.

New York Times:

The judge, Parwiz Muhammad Mahmoud al-Merani, 59, was killed a day after the Iraqi Special Tribunal announced the first charges in the approaching trials of former senior officials in Mr. Hussein's government. His son, Aryan Mahmoud al-Merani, 26, who also worked at the tribunal as a lawyer, was killed with him, according to officials at Iraq's Interior Ministry.

Three men drove up and fired automatic weapons at the two men around 9 a.m. as they stood outside their family home in Adhamiya, a largely Sunni Arab neighborhood that has been a center of insurgent activity. Witnesses saw the attackers speeding away in a green Opel sedan without license plates, the officials said.

The 400 or so tribunal members, including about 100 judges and lawyers, have been provided with security guards, and their names have largely been kept secret to forestall assassination attempts. On Monday, as the first charges were announced, a Western legal expert involved in the trial process said that those working on the tribunal were exposed to dangers and that there had been "some incidents," but he declined to provide details.

The WaPo:
We believe that the murder is politically motivated, because the two killed were working in the special tribunal and the son was a senior member in the PUK office in Baghdad. The late judge had no personal problems with anybody at all," the son said. "This is a terrorist act carried out by Baathists and terrorists."

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is one of two key northern Kurdish parties. U.S. authorities dissolved Saddam's former ruling Baath party after ousting him from power.

Various press reports, including the WaPo piece above speculate that the murder could have been criminally motivated, rather than motivated by Baathist/terrorist forces. Right.

CNN reveals that the Judge was also a leading member of the PKU, a leading Kurdish political party.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 07:04 AM | Comments |