Saddam faces trial within 'a few weeks'

/ Source: The Associated Press

Saddam Hussein and other detained members of the deposed Iraqi regime will face trial within “a few weeks,” Iraq’s minister of state said in Kuwait on Sunday.

“The trial of Saddam and the others on the black list will start within a few weeks ... before the end of this year and before (Iraqi) elections,” Qassim Dawoud told reporters during a visit to Kuwait City.

He did not mention any dates.

Dawoud also said U.S. authorities will have no influence over the trial process, which he expected to take a long time.

“We have deprived ourselves from having any influence on Saddam’s trial,” Dawoud said. “How could we allow foreign entities to interfere in Saddam’s trial?”

Since his capture last December, Saddam has been held in U.S. detention at an undisclosed location awaiting trial on broad charges of killing rivals, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing uprisings.

Kuwait is also preparing papers on war crimes that Saddam’s occupying army is alleged to have committed after it invaded in August 1990.

Iraqi forces are accused of killing about 1,000 Kuwaitis and other nationals, sabotaging Kuwait’s oil wells, and looting the national archives. They were driven out of the country by a U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War.