AUSTIN, Texas—This summer the Department of Justice asked UT Law Adjunct Professor Ronald Sievert to work with the International Bar Association in training five prosecutors and fifteen judges of the Iraqi Special Tribunal. The session focused on the rules of procedure and substantive international law in preparation for the trial of Saddam Hussein and his associates. The August session, held in a secret location in Western Europe, lasted approximately three weeks. Prior to this assignment, Sievert worked at an overseas military base on matters related to the case.
Sievert was part of a teaching team that included judges from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,, a former UN principal legal advisor, a Dutch lawyer who represented the first defendant before the ICTY, a legal adviser from the Special Court for Sierra Leone and IBA officials.
"The Iraqi prosecutors and judges are smart and courageous. But they will have difficult challenges in pulling of a complex trial of this magnitude because the rules of the tribunal combine Iraqi law with international law and procedures that are new to them. They have the added pressure of the world watching," said Sievert.
Saddam Hussein is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during his presidency, including the mass killing of approximately 180,000 Kurds and 20,000 Shites, the use of chemical weapons, torture and, potentially, the invasion of Kuwait. The IBA's session focused on the Iraqi Special Tribunal's rules of procedure and substantive international criminal law recently codified by the International Criminal Court. A mock trial was held during the session
In addition to teaching the United States Law and National Security course at UT-Austin, Professor Sievert is an assistant U.S. attorney and National Security Coordinator for the Western District of Texas.