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Saddam Hussein given PoW status
January 10, 2004 12:12 IST
The United States has designated Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a prisoner of war and said he would be put on trial represented by international observers.
"Saddam's status is he's an enemy prisoner of war and he'll continue to be an enemy prisoner of war unless and until his status is determined to be otherwise," a Pentagon official said on Friday.
He said the International Committee of the Red Cross had submitted a request to visit Saddam who was captured on December 13.
"He is being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention and the convention permits that," he said of a possible visit.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that Hussein would be 'put on trial with international observers participating'.
"We are treating everybody in our custody in accordance with the basic rights and expectations of international agreements that we have," he said in an interview to CBS-TV.
When asked whether there would be a high profile trial of Hussein this year in Baghdad, Powell said, "It is up to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi Governing Council is putting together judicial proceedings and bringing in experts who will help them develop charges against Saddam Hussein, and he will be put on trial with international observers participating."
Asked whether Hussein will be handed over to the Iraqi authorities shortly after July 1, when Iraq may regain sovereignty, Powell said, "That is something we will have to decide."
He said the United States wants the 'Iraqis to be full partners in this (trial), and we believe the credibility of the new Iraqi government will be measured by how they handle this horrible dictator'.
Asked whether Saddam Hussein is talking to interrogators, Powell said: "He is talking. I can't go into what he is saying or what he is not saying, but we are communicating with him."