Rice: Other countries failing duty to help in Saddam trial

The world has shirked its duty to help prosecute Saddam Hussein, Secretary of State &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/354/15324_condoleezza.html' target=_blank>Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday.

"The international community's effective boycott of Saddam's trial is only harming the Iraqi people, who are now working to secure the hope of justice and freedom that Saddam long denied them," Rice said.

The top U.S. diplomat also predicted that the Iraqi elections this week would yield the most democratic government "in the entire Middle East." She did not mention the long-standing democracy in Israel.

The Bush administration has a lot riding on Thursday's parliamentary elections, which will establish Iraq's first permanent democratically elected government. If the voting goes well, it will provide a political pivot point for eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Rice, speaking to a friendly audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said other nations are starting to do more to help rebuild Iraq and are opening their checkbooks to do it.

"As welcome as this broad support is, I am sad to say that the international community has barely done anything to help Iraq prosecute Saddam Hussein," she said.

"All who express their devotion to human rights and the rule of law have a special obligation to help the Iraqis bring to justice one of the world's most murderous tyrants."

She did not name names, nor say just what other nations could do to help. Although the former president's trial is being carried out in an Iraqi court, with an Iraqi judge, the United States underwrote and helped organize the criminal investigation and prosecution effort.

Saddam and seven others went on trial Oct. 19 in the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims who were executed in 1982 after a failed assassination attempt against the Iraqi leader. If convicted, they could be executed.

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