Iraqi Judge Shares Justice Ideas

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 24, 2008 at 5:14 PM EDT

One man at the center of reforming justice in Iraq is spending time at Cornell University studying US Law.

Judge Ra'id Al-Sa'edi sat on the Iraqi High Tribunal that prosecuted Saddam Hussein.

"We need to work together, Iraqi, US and also the international community to improve the situation in the Middle East," says Ra'id Al-Sa'edi .

That's the message of Judge Ra'id Al-Sa'edi {rah-ed all-side} to nearly 2 dozen students at Cornell's Law School in Ithaca.

Al-Sa'edi serves as the chief investigative judge for the Iraqi High Tribunal.

The same court that tried former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for his crimes against humanity.

Al-Sa'edi says that trial was important because it showed no one is above the law in Iraq, not even the government.

"There is mistake in this court, there is corruption in this court but this is a huge step in Iraqi history because this is the first trial for the President in the Middle East," says Al-Sa'edi.

Al-Sa'edi is currently studying at Cornell University, learning how to improve Iraq's court system.

"There is the law, there is the system but we have to respect the human rights, have to respect the system, have to respect how we can deal, we have to understand how we can use our position to serve our country and our people," says Al-Sa'edi.

Cornell Law School Dean Stewart Schwab says students study a great deal about the rule of law and it's importance worldwide.

He says it's exciting and informative for students to hear from a person at the forefront of reform in a volatile place like Iraq.

Al-Sa'edi has been studying at Cornell University since September under the school's Clarke Middle East Fellowship.

He plans to spend up to 3 years in the United States studying at Cornell or other schools.

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