updated 7/1/2004 6:19:29 PM ET 2004-07-01T22:19:29

Saddam Hussein addresses an Iraqi judge Thursday in a courtroom at Camp Victory, a former Saddam palace on the outskirts of Baghdad.  Below is a transcript of a rough translation:

Saddam: I am Saddam Hussein al-Majid, the president of the Republic of Iraq.

Judge: Profession?  Former president of the Republic of Iraq?

Saddam: No, present.  Current.  It’s the will of the people.

Judge : The head of the Baath Party that is dissolved, defunct.  Former commander and chief of the army. Residence is Iraq. Your mother’s name?

Saddam: Sobha. Therefore I’m talking to you as a judge, and an Iraqi one. You have raised accusations against me being the president of the republic regarding Hallabja that you could hear in the media, about attacking Hallabja during a regime that was headed by Saddam Hussein.

Judge: Well, you have said that you wanted to postpone talking about this during the presence of attorneys, but now you are answering questions.

Saddam: No, this was regarding previous accusations. If you want to repeat them in the presence of attorneys, yes, I want to postpone them. But if you want me to sign then the attorneys, no, please, I wouldn’t do it. So my occupation of Kuwait, the seventh charge, unfortunately it is coming from an Iraqi. Is this just?

Judge: But this is law.

Saddam: Law? What law? Law that puts Saddam to trial because the Kuwaitis said that we would make out of every Iraqi woman a prostitute for ten dinars in the street. And I have defended the honor of Iraq and revived the historical rights of Iraqis against these dogs. 

Judge: Do not insult anybody, this is a legal session.

Saddam:  Yes this is a legal session, and I am taking responsibility for what I say.

Judge: Any impolite statement is not acceptable.

Saddam: So the seventh charge against Saddam Hussein is that of being the president of Iraq and commander in chief of the armed forces. The armed forces went to Kuwait, right? So in an official way, is it legitimate to raise accusations against an official, and the official being accused away from the assurances by the constitution and laws including the one that you are trying me according to. This is the core of the issue. To raise accusations because it was acted upon during a regime headed by Saddam Hussein, but without providing the assurances to the president. Is this legitimate?

Judge:  We have postponed this. You are answering officially. Do you want to answer these accusations in the presence of an attorney? Because if you read the report, it says that it has been postponed.

Saddam: Please allow me not to sign, except in the presence of an attorney.

Judge: What assurances are you seeking?

Saddam:  I am talking about myself.

Judge: What assurances are you seeking that you want to sign? These are the assurances.

Saddam: Well, I am talking about the whole process. And this is part of the process, the legal process. But in every case, I will sign in the presence of lawyers.  And you being a judge why act incorrectly and act in an expedited way and then you will be held responsible or at fault?  You are an Iraqi judge?

Judge: Well it is your right to sign

Saddam: I will not sign except in the presence of an attorney. May I have clarification?

Judge:  Go ahead, please.

Saddam: You also have to introduce yourself to me.

Judge: Mr. Saddam, I am the investigative judge of the central court of Iraq.

Saddam: So that I have to know, you are an investigative judge of the central court of Iraq?  What resolution, what law formed this court? Oh, the coalition forces?  So you are an Iraqi that — you are representing the occupying forces?

Judge:  No, I’m an Iraqi representing Iraq.

Saddam:  But you are ...

Judge:  I was appointed by a presidential decree under the former regime.

Saddam:  So you are reiterating that every Iraqi should respect the Iraqi law. So the law that was instituted before represents the will of the people, right?

Judge:  Yes, God willing.

Saddam:  So you should not work under the jurisdiction of the coalition forces.

Judge:  This is an important point. I am a judge. In the former regime, I respect the judges.  And I am resuming and continuing my work. You, as any other citizen, you have to answer to any accusation or charge, that’s true.  This is an arraignment, a charge. If it can be proven, then you will be convicted. If not, then everything is fine. The judicial due process is to bring back rights. If there’s evidence, you’ll be convicted. If there’s no evidence, you will not. Until now, you’re accused before the judicial system. So according to that ...

Saddam:  So, please let me — I’m not complicating matters. Are you a judge? You are a judge? And judges, they value the law. And they rule by the law, right? Right? For us, right is our heritage in the Koran, sharia, right?

I am not talking about Saddam Hussein, whether he was a citizen or in other capacities.  I’m not holding fast to my position, but to respect the will of the people that decided to choose Saddam Hussein as the leader of the revolution.

Therefore, when I say president of the Republic of Iraq, it’s not a formality or a holding fast to a position, but rather to reiterate to the Iraqi people that I respect its will.  This is one.

Number two, you summoned me to levy charges — no, I — you call it crimes.

Judge:  The investigative judge — if there is evidence, then I’ll defer it to a court of jurisdiction.

Saddam:  Let me understand something. Who is the defendant? Any defendant when he comes to a court, before that there should be investigation. This is not a court, this is investigation. This is investigation now.

Let me clarify this point.  Then I hope that you remember you are a judge empowered by the people.  It doesn’t really matter whether you convict me or not; that’s not what’s important. But what is important is that you remember that you’re a judge. Then don’t mention anything [about] occupying forces. This is not good.

Then judge in the name of people. Then that’s good. Then judge in the name of the people.  This is the Iraqi way.

Judge:  Mr. Saddam, this is an investigative process before.

Saddam:  From the legal standpoint, you were notified that I have lawyers, right?  Am I not supposed to meet with the lawyers before I come before you?

Judge:  If you give me just 10 minutes, let’s finish the formalities and I’ll come to that. Then if you wait, then you will see that you have rights that are guaranteed. OK. Go ahead.

According to the law, Mr. Saddam, the investigative judge has to give the defendant the charges that are levied against him.  And then reading the rights of all the charges according to the law, Articles 123, 124 and 125.

The first step is, these articles, were they not signed by Saddam Hussein? Yes, this is the law that was in ‘73.  So then Saddam Hussein was representing the leadership and signed that law.  So now you are using the law that Saddam signed against Saddam. 

Saddam:  Please, the constitution mechanism — I’m not a lawyer but I understand — I am originally a man of law. Is it allowed to call a president elected by the people and charge him according to a law that was enacted under his will and the will of the people? There is some contradiction,  no?

Judge: The judicial process — let me answer this clarification — first, I’m not deliberating a case against you, I’m investigating, interrogating you.

Second, the president is a profession, is a position, is a deputy of the society.  That’s true.  And originally, inherently, he’s a citizen.  And every citizen, according to the law in the constitution, if this person violates a law has to come before the law.  And that law you know more than I do.

Judge: So the crimes, the charges, intended killing by using chemical weapons in Halabjah.

Saddam: No.

Judge: Second, intended killing of a great number of Iraqis in 1983. Three, intended killing of a number of members of political parties without trials. Fourth, intended killing of many of the Iraqi religious people.Fifth, intended killing of many Iraqis in Anfal without any evidence against it. You have the right to defend and answer. These are the guarantees.

(AUDIO DROPS)

Now we come to an important matter.  You will have heard the court read the crimes that you’re charged—or were attributed to the accused, Saddam Hussein.  And you were told what the articles of the law that apply to those cases.  And the court has read to you the rights and the guarantees that any accused is entitled to, which includes the rights of defense and  representation and also the right not to answer any question asked, and that will never be used as an evidence against the accused.

And the court also presented to the accused the right to argue the evidence.

The accused requested to meet with defense lawyers that are his private defense lawyers to be present with him in the investigative sessions.  And in light of that, the minutes were concluded and the investigation is postponed.

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