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The liberated people of Iraq will now mete out justice to their former dictator and his cronies. Saddam Hussein and eleven of his top aides appeared in an Iraqi court July 1st and heard a multitude of charges that they will face in criminal trials expected next year.

The charges include genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the brutal treatment of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds, the 1980s' Iran-Iraq war, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's interim national security adviser, says that when Saddam Hussein is brought to trial, he will have a great deal to answer for:

“Why did you kill tens of thousands of people? Why did you commit the massacres? Why did you use the chemical weapons against Halabja in Kurdistan? Why did you bring to this country all these miseries?”

The overwhelming majority of Iraqis say they are very pleased that Saddam Hussein will finally face justice for his crimes. Among them is Dr. Ghaib al-Kassam:

“[We had] a lot of suffering. It was something which you can't imagine. Saddam's regime was something that you can't describe."

Iraq's interim government has taken legal custody of Saddam Hussein and his former aides. For the time being, the U.S.-led coalition will continue to hold and guard Saddam Hussein and the other defendants. But it is now up to the Iraqi people to deal with the brutal dictator and his associates. “Fifteen months ago,” says President George W. Bush, “Iraq was ruled by a regime that brutalized and tortured its own people, murdered hundreds of thousands, and buried them in mass graves. Today Iraqis live under a government that strives for justice, upholds the rule of law, and defends the dignity of every citizen.”