Fatal errors: The trial and appeal judgments in the Dujail Case

Nehal Bhuta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This commentary reviews the written judgments of both the First Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) in the Dujail case. The article considers the key substantive and procedural findings by the Trial Chamber and Appeals Chamber and evaluates the decisions' consistency with international criminal law. It concludes that the decisions made serious errors in their application of international criminal law principles governing the knowledge and intent of the defendants, and also in respect of findings of fact concerning the knowledge and intent of the defendants. These errors appear closely connected to the failure of the investigative judge and prosecution to present evidence which was essential to establish knowledge and intent in the manner required by international criminal law. The article concludes that many aspects of the convictions were unsustainable as a matter of fact and law. It ends by reflecting on some of the factors which contributed to the failure of the IHT to produce a credible verdict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-65
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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