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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq: UN envoy to meet Muslim Shi'ite religious leaders

27 June Continuing his efforts to meet with and listen to all shades of Iraqi political, religious, intellectual and civil leaders, United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello is scheduled to go to the Islamic holy city of Najaf tomorrow to meet with Muslim Shi'ite religious leaders.

Mr. Vieira de Mello, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, is expected to meet with Ayatollah Ali Muhammad al-Sistani, Imam Muqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the Sadriyun Movement and Imam Mohammed Baqer Al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

This will be his third trip outside Baghdad to the provinces and he will continue to meet with the broadest possible range of representatives of Iraqi society in order to assist them and the United States-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in their efforts to create a representative, democratic administration as soon as possible.

On Monday the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative's office are organizing a meeting of experts in Baghdad on transitional justice to bring Iraqi jurists and international experts together with the CPA to ensure that those responsible for past crimes in Iraq are brought to justice.

Participants in the meeting, which Mr. Vieira de Mello will open, include experts from the American University in Washington, the International Committee for the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, the War Torn Society and a forensic team from the UN mission in Kosovo.

The meeting will provide the forum in which Iraqi human rights experts can share their experiences, express their aspirations and learn about experiences and approaches that others have adopted to deal with past human rights violations.

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