Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari complained Monday that the Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein took an unjustifiably long time to prepare its case and brushed aside as unfounded concerns that the court could be biased against the former dictator.
"I don't think there are any more clear-cut crimes in the world than those committed by Saddam," said the Shiite Arab leader, five of whose close relatives, including an older brother, were executed by Saddam's regime in the 1980s and 1990s.
Saddam and seven senior members of his 23-year regime go on trial Wednesday charged with ordering the killing in 1982 of nearly 150 people from the mainly Shiite town of Dujail north of Baghdad following a failed attempt on Saddam's life.
Al-Jaafari, who took office in April as the head of a Shiite-Kurdish coalition, said he wanted Saddam to have a fair and open trial, but made it clear that he preferred the proceedings not to drag on.
Al-Jaafari said he was puzzled by what he said was the long time it took the Iraqi Special Tribunal to compile evidence against Saddam in the Dujail case.