President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi television that he had been informed by an investigating judge that "he was able to extract confessions from Saddam's mouth" about crimes "such as executions" which the ousted leader had personally ordered.
Asked about specific examples, Mr. Talabani, a Kurd, replied "Anfal," the codename for the 1987-88 campaign which his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan maintains led to the deaths of about 182,000 Kurds and the destruction of "dozens of Kurdish villages."
Those villages included Halabja, where thousands of Kurdish villagers were gassed in 1988.
However, Abdel Haq Alani, a legal consultant to Mr. Hussein's family said Mr. Hussein did not mention any confession when he met Monday with his Iraqi lawyer.
"Is this the fabrication of Talabani or what? Let's not have a trial on TV. Let the court of law, not the media, make its ruling on this," Mr. Alani said.
As much as we hate it when defence lawyers grandstand before the cameras complaining about their clients being tried in the media, it beats going feet first through a wood chipper.
The fact that this trial can even be held is a sign of genuine progress in Iraq, despite all the media screeching about quagmires and exit strategies.
The Iraqi Special Tribunal has decided to conduct trials on separate alleged offenses rather than lump them all together in a single proceeding.
Mr. Hussein could face the death penalty if convicted in the Dujail case, the only one referred to trial so far.
Too bad they can only hang him once.
Source: Globe and Mail