03/02/2005, 00.00
IRAQ
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Iraqi judge and son gunned down

The judge worked for the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try Saddam Hussein. Baathist terrorism targets new regime's officials and children.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Gunmen in Baghdad shot and killed a judge and his son, both working for the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) set up to try Saddam Hussein and his top lieutenants.

Barwiz Mahmoud Marwani, an ethnic Kurd, and his son were gunned down on Tuesday as they were leaving their home in Adhamiah, in northern Baghdad.

This is first deadly attack against a judge working for the IST which employs dozens of judges from all three of Iraq's main ethnic groups: Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite.

It comes a day after five top Baath Party officials were formally indicted, among them Saddam half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim al Hassan al Tikriti, and former Deputy Prime Minister Taha Yasin Ramadan.

According to AsiaNews's sources, all the judges as well as all public officials are targets. This is even more so for Sunnis who must operate in an environment still permeated by the Baath Party and criminals who threaten them and their families.

Commenting the murder of the judge and his son, one source wryly told AsiaNews: "In Baghdad it has become fashionable to kill the children of government officials. A few days ago they killed the children of Najaf's police chief. Yesterday, they abducted the son of Mosul's police chief. The children of journalists are also killed."

The US-led coalition set up the IST in December 2003 to try the former regime's officials. Charges against them range from genocide and crimes against humanity to war crimes.

Yesterday, former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarek Aziz, who is in jail also waiting trial for crimes against humanity, answered questions about the UN's 'Oil-for-Food' programme.

Another judge, Wayed al-Jadr, who is not working for the IST, was shot and wounded this morning by unknown assailants in Baghdad.

Official sources estimate that ten judges have been killed in the last year.

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