Spain's prime minister said former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - sentenced Sunday to death by hanging - should be held accountable for his actions, but called the US-led military intervention in Iraq "a grave error."
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, speaking at a news conference at the Iberoamerican summit in Uruguay, said Spain opposes the death penalty.
But questioned by The Associated Press about the Saddam's sentence, Zapatero said: "Saddam Hussein, like any citizen and political leader, has to respond for his actions, respond for acts he may have committed."
He added: "It's known in the European Union for quite some time that it is not favorable to the death penalty. It's a penalty that is not contemplated by any European organism and neither by our country."
Zapatero, whose Socialist government pulled Spain's troops from Iraq soon after taking office in 2004, said he was alarmed by the daily reports of deaths from violence and said there must be a "change of strategy by the chief actors to this conflict."