Citing flawed process UN expert says Iraq should not execute exVice President

16 March 2007After this week’s dismissal of Iraqi former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan’s appeal against the death penalty imposed by the country’s High Tribunal, an independent United Nations legal expert called on the Government to not carry out the execution, citing the “procedurally flawed legal process” that lead to the sentence. Leandro Despouy, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, issued a statement today saying that the High Tribunal “has violated international standards on due process” and “therefore is not in a position to sentence Taha Yassin Ramadan to death.”The Appeals Chamber of the High Tribunal, in its 12 February decision, did not address the “grave shortcomings” of the original trial which sentenced Mr. Ramadan to a life sentence. The Chamber described this decision as being “too lenient,” and sent the case back to the trial court for his sentence to be increased to death.On Wednesday, all nine members of the appeals court ratified Mr. Ramadan’s death sentence.The trial violated international human rights standards and principles, according to the Representative, “in particular the right to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal and the right to adequate defence,” as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).Mr. Despouy, who has issued two previous press statements on this matter, is an unpaid expert serving in an independent personal capacity, reporting to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.