There’s confusion over when Saddam Hussein will be executed. One senior US official has said it could be as soon as Saturday. But sources within the Iraqi justice system say it will not be before a month. Meanwhile, Saddam’s lawyers have launched a last-ditch effort to prevent the US handing him over to the Iraqi courts for execution. Giovanni Di Stefano is on the defence team: “The biggest problem we face is not with the tribunals, with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, with any of the politicians, it’s actually with the client himself who is ready to die. The very same organisations that actually condemned the human rights abuses whilst President Hussein was in charge there, have also condemned a trial that has been a political show-trial, and it is not in the interests of anybody for Saddam Hussein to be executed, otherwise there will be – in Enoch Powell’s words – a ‘river of blood’ that will flow through the Middle East.”
His comment that no good will come of Saddam’s hanging, whenever it comes, was echoed by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. “I don’t think that Saddam’s execution helps the pacification of Iraq in any way,” he said. Iraqi Kurds want to see the ousted leader face another trial for acts of genocide against them before he’s put to death.