BAGHDAD, Iraq – The U.S. administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer (search), opened the nation's first human rights ministry Saturday, saying it will investigate atrocities committed during Saddam Hussein's (search) rule.
Bremer also said the Baghdad ministry will draft a human rights declaration and promote private groups that defend civil liberties in the country.
He also defended American policies in Iraq.
"You know in our country and in other countries in Europe, there is a debate about whether the coalition did the right thing in coming to Iraq to liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam," Bremer said.
"And I say to the people who doubt whether what we did was noble: 'Come to Iraq, visit the mass graves."'
Much of the European criticism of American policy in Iraq stemmed from Washington's failure to win U.N. Security Council approval for the invasion.