17 July 2008 :

Appeal to the Iraqi authorities not to use the death penalty against Tarek Aziz 

To the President of Iraq Jalal Talabani

To the Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki

To the Minister of Justice of Iraq Hashim al-Shibli

To the President of the Parliament of Iraq Hajim al-Hassani

To the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy Silvio Berlusconi

To the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso  


The ex Vice Premier and former Foreign Minister, Tarek Aziz, has been held for five years in a US military base in Baghdad waiting the conclusion of his trial.            

In this period the Red Cross has managed to meet him only a few times to check his appalling conditions and health.

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights condemns the use of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The detention of Tarek Aziz in isolation certainly constitutes this, regardless of the fact that he is charged with serious crimes.

We the undersigned,

Are strongly convinced that there cannot be impunity for the crimes committed by the deposed Iraqi regime. The crimes that Tarek Aziz and others are accused of represent the most serious violations of human rights, for which there cannot be any immunity;

Are strongly convinced that the trial of Tarek Aziz must be conducted in full respect of internationally recognised safeguards in order to guarantee a fair and impartial trial. This avoids creating pretexts and excuses for those who want to discredit the judiciary’s actions,  presenting the outcome as victors’ justice or as vengeance of the victims against their executioner;

Are strongly convinced
that the Iraqi penal system as a whole should apply international norms and that the trial of Tarek Aziz should apply the principles set forth by the Statutes of the international criminal tribunals that do not resort to the death penalty;

Are strongly convinced that the decision to suspend the death sentences issued by the Iraqi Parliament and Government would be the best demonstration of a profound change vis-à-vis the methods of the old regime. It would also be a strong signal by the new Iraqi institutions to the entire region to respect human dignity;

to the Government and Parliament of Iraq to avoid sentencing Tarek Aziz and his co-accused to death for the serious charges that they are facing, in accordance with the new commitment to respect fundamental individual dignity that Iraq recognises as inalienable to every human being.

Call on
the Iraqi authorities to re-introduce the moratorium on capital executions that was established after the fall of Saddam Hussein, with the aim of reinforcing the transition process towards democracy, in accordance with the rule of law.

urgent actions