Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman
CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, November 19 2003
For IMMEDIATE Release
Saddam Hussein & Human Rights Abuses
BACKGROUND: Although Iraqi political culture became excessively violent in the years following the downfall of the monarchy in 1958, President Saddam Husseins rule was exceptional in its use of murder, torture, and weapons of mass destruction against separatist Kurds, disenfranchised Shiites, high-ranking officials in his own party, and even members of Husseins extended family. Some historians have attributed Saddams excesses to his psychological makeup, his paranoia, and his affinity for the ruling style of previous dictators such as Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. However, most intelligence analysts have speculated that, above all else, Saddam Hussein coveted power and was willing to do anything to maintain his grip on Iraq, a diverse country and nascent nation state without a long history of centralized rule. Since the regime fell in April 2003, U.S. and international forensics teams have searched for evidence of the scale and scope of the Baathist regimes human rights abuses. As of this date, there are more than 200 mass grave sites in Iraq. Some estimates place the number of victims of the regime at 300,000 to one million. Most grave sites are believed to contain the bodies of Shiite Muslims, as well as Kurds killed in the post-1991 war uprisings against Saddam Hussein.
WHAT: Oversight hearing: Human Rights Violations Under Saddam Hussein:
Victims Speak Out
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair, Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia
WHEN: 2 p.m., Thursday, November 20, 2003
WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
WITNESSES: U.S. Reps. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) and Darlene Hooley (D-OR), both recently returned from Iraq; Sandy Hodgkinson, Forensics Unit, Coalition Provisional Authority (invited); Joe Collins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations; Major Alvin Schmidt, USMC; Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director, Physicians for Human Rights; Maha Alattar, M.D., neurosurgeon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Athir Morad, M.D., Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Virginia.
Among the questions/issues expected to be addressed during the hearing:
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