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Former Iraqi PM: Baathist Who Committed Crimes Must be Punished - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- Former Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi demanded that all Baathist who committed crimes against the Iraqi people during the rule of Saddam Hussein should be punished. He stressed that it is important that they be tried before Iraqi courts.

Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat in Amman that &#34there are Baathist who committed murder, persecution and torture against Iraqi citizens. They should be brought to justice before Iraqi courts to get their just punishment.&#34

The former head of the Iraqi Government suggested that a committee should be formed to follow up the Baathist who harmed Iraqi people so that the Iraqi people would feel justice has been done.

Allawi questioned the outcomes of the present Supreme Debathification Commission saying, &#34one of the first duties of this commission should be to follow up the Baathist who committed crimes against the Iraqi people because they were trying to support and keep an unjust regime in power.&#34

He indicated that the Commission should seek facts and to build on facts and should listen to the eyewitnesses. Their work should not turn into haphazard acts of vendetta. They should allow the Iraqi justice to assume its active role in building its just institution.

Allawi called for the formation of a legal committee that would seek facts, listen to eyewitnesses and bring the Baathist who committed crimes to justice.

He then spoke about the national unity conference, which will be held, under his leadership in Baghdad on the 25 th of the present month. Two other conferences will be held simultaneously in Diwaniya and Kirkuk.

He said,&#34 the plan was to hold a single conference to be attended by more than one thousand people. They would include Iraqis in addition to Arab guests from Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Arab Maghrib and a representative from the Arab League.&#34

He added, &#34However, we have postponed this expanded conference until next month because of the security situation in Iraq.&#34

He said, &#34The conference will deal with the issue of national unity in Iraq. The country is facing the risk of disintegration. The conference will also stand up against sectarianism, which is crawling to all aspects of the state and society”s life. As a result the concept of Iraqi citizenship is really threatened.&#34

Allawi said, &#34There is a strong desire among Iraqi political movements, parties and dignitaries to participate in the conference. We must reflect that in a practical way for the sake of a united and strong Iraq with an Arab identity away from sectarian quotas.&#34

Talking about the upcoming elections, he said,&#34 the national unity conference will form an electoral alliance. Initially it will be called &#34The Iraqi Group&#34 or &#34The National Group. The group”s aim will be to realize the ambitions of the Iraqis in safeguarding their national unity far from sectarianism.&#34

This group is considered to be the first Iraqi election alliance that will participate in the elections, according to Allawi.

He expressed his faith &#34that the upcoming elections are very important and will form a turning point in the history of Iraqi people. Through the elections, Iraq will either rise up again and will assume its pioneer Arab role, or it will continue to slide towards abyss.&#34

He explained by saying, &#34any party that is working to save Iraq today has no choice but to join forces with other Iraqi political parties and movements and Iraqi nationalist figures who believe in a democratic and free Iraq where all religions, sects and nationalities are respected. They should maintain their Arab and Islamic dimensions and should have the future of Iraq before their eyes.&#34

Allawi thanked the religious authority represented by Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani for the role he plays in encouraging the Iraqi people to participate in the elections.

He commented,&#34 we do not have any doubt in the great nationalist role played by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in maintaining the national unity and the integrity of Iraq.

We believe in the role of the Authority and their concern for all Iraqis, whether Muslims or non Muslims, Arabs or Kurds or from other nationalities without any distinction between a Shiite and a Sunni.&#34

Allawi called upon &#34Iraqi intellectuals, innovators and youth to assume their active and national part in realizing the ambitions of the Iraqis. They can do so through maintaining the national unity of Iraq and staying away from sectarian strife and through believing that Iraq is for all Iraqis.&#34

Allawi stressed that his alliance will work on keeping Iraq united through the consensus of the Arabs and the Kurds. He added, &#34Our Kurdish brothers have always had their active national role as Iraqis. Through their federal region, they will work on strengthening the bonds of love and dedication for Iraq. There are solid links between us and them. We shall work together for the future of Iraq.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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