Saddam trial lacks 'smoking gun' evidence, witnesses Mon Jun 07 2004 20:22:25 ET Prosecutors are struggling to build a case against Saddam Hussein because they lack both witnesses and evidence to prove the ousted Iraqi dictator is guilty of atrocities, according to a British official quoted by The Times on Monday. Although the US-led coalition has caught 40 of the 55 people on its list of "most-wanted" Iraqis linked to Saddam's former regime, none of them will testify for the prosecution, the unnamed official said. "It's the fear factor," he explained. "Saddam may be in custody but the other detainees know from past experience that if they turned 'Queen's evidence', revenge would be taken against members of their families". The newspaper's source also said the Iraqi dictator, ousted by the US and British invasion in March 2003, had hidden any written proof of his direct responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity. "Saddam was very clever at power-laundering, which meant that decisions were filtered down to junior levels, making it difficult to prove a direct line of responsibility", the source said. Saddam has been in US custody in an undisclosed location since his capture on December 13, and is due to be tried along other members of his ousted regime by a special Iraqi tribunal. He is likely to be tried for the persecution of the Shiite Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as for alleged war crimes against Kuwait. Iran is also believed to be preparing a formal complaint against him for the torture of Iranian prisoners captured during the 1980-1988 war. A 20-member defense team appointed by Saddam's family has complained about not being able to meet its client and accused the US authorities of holding him in breach of the Geneva Conventions.