The UN human rights chief on Thursday called for restraint by Iraqi authorities over Saddam Hussein's death sentence, saying there were concerns about the fairness of the original trial.
"The appeal judgment is a lengthy and complex decision that requires careful study," Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.
Arbour also said that under the terms of international agreements signed by Iraq Saddam had the right to appeal to "appropriate authorities" for possible commutation or a pardon.
An appeals court decision upholding Saddam Hussein's death sentence for crimes against humanity is final and does not require the approval of President Jalal Talabani, a presidential spokesman said Wednesday.
"The president's approval is not needed," said Hiwa Osman, Talabani's media adviser. "The court's decision is final."
Iraqi officials had said prior to the appeals court ruling on Tuesday, which upheld the death sentence and said it must be carried out within 30 days, that any decision to impose the death penalty must be ratified by Talabani and Iraq's two vice presidents.
The appeals court ruled the death sentence must be carried out within 30 days.
"There were a number of concerns as to the fairness of the original trial, and there needs to be assurance that these issues have been comprehensively addressed. I call, therefore, on the Iraqi authorities not to act precipitately in seeking to execute the sentence in these cases," Arbour said.
She said Iraq and the international community had an interest in making sure the death sentence was imposed only after a trial and appeal seen as credible and impartial.
"That is especially so in a case as exceptional as this one," she added.