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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Annan Press Conference

Aired December 15, 2003 - 14:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan on the day after the capture of Saddam Hussein, speaking to reporters in New York City. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: ... that shadow has been removed, and I hope this will help us move ahead with the transition period and also accelerate the process of reconciliation and attempts to establish a provisional Iraqi government that is inclusive and transparent.

Saddam Hussein has also been accused of heinous crimes, including gross and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

It is essential and it is absolutely vital that all those responsible for these crimes should be brought to account. And I believe this should be done through open trials in properly established courts of law which will respect basic international norms and standards, including respect for international humanitarian law.

We have a lot to do, and I think last weekend's developments is an important event.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, would you be opposed to a war crimes tribunal that included the death penalty?

ANNAN: As you know, the U.N. does not support death penalty, and all the courts we've set up have not included death penalty. And so as secretary general, as the U.N. as an organization, I'm not going to now turn around and support a death penalty.

QUESTION: You said that you didn't think it was likely that the security situation would improve in Iraq, and that's in the report to the council. With the capture of Saddam Hussein now, do you think this will hasten the U.N.'s return to Iraq and Baghdad?

ANNAN: The only thing that will hasten the U.N.'s return is the establishment of secure environment. And if the capture of Saddam Hussein leads to that development, it will be helpful.

O'BRIEN: All right. As Kofi Annan shifts into French we will shift onto other stories. We'll keep monitoring that for you as it progresses.

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