Tom Luedke spoke at Washburn's breakfast lecture. The Assistant U.S. Attorney worked in Baghdad from 2005 to 2007 as an advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal in the Regime Crimes Liaison Office. He says he has an extensive background in criminal law and volunteered for the assignment.
Luedke assisted prosecutors with evidentiary and legal issues during the initial trial of Saddam Hussein. Luedke says the Iraqis needed U.S. assistance because many aspects of their new justice system, such as public presentation of evidence, were brand new.
Luedke says seeing the accused criminals up close was a lot different than the images Americans might have seen on television. He says Saddam and the others looked almost grandfatherly as they sat in court, but, having seen a lot of evidence, Luedke says he believes Saddam was "a brutal dictator."
Luedke continues working in Iraq, helping the tribunal prosecute other regime members. He says it's been gratifying to be there at the beginning of the process and, now, to see it as it nears an end. He believes the work will wrap up in mid-2010.