The capture of Saddam Hussein was a defining moment in the Iraqi conflict. But it has not proved to be the turning point which the US and its allies had hoped for. Almost a year has passed since the once all-powerful dictator was found hiding in a hole in the ground. The anniversary is tomorrow. During that time, the battle between US-led forces and insurgents has continued to rage. The instability casts a shadow over historic elections which are planned for next month. The real turning point is likely to come only when Hussein - to use the words of US President George W. Bush - faces 'the justice he denied to millions'. But there is no telling when his war crimes trial will take place. Indeed, as we report on the facing page, it is not even clear where he is being held. The delay is, in one sense, reassuring. After the tyrant's capture there were some suggestions that he would be swiftly tried, convicted and sentenced. But concerns remain about the ability of Iraq - even with help from the international community - to stage a fair trial. Hussein has hired one of the biggest teams of defence lawyers ever assembled, led by 20 lawyers from countries including the US, Britain and France. But so far, he has not been able to meet them. A first conference with an Iraqi defence lawyer was scheduled for last week, but was cancelled at the last minute. Security concerns, understandably, make it difficult to provide this particular defendant with access to his lawyers. But access must be granted well in advance of his trial. It is unlikely that the trial, for an appalling catalogue of crimes including the gassing of Kurds in 1988, can take place in Iraq until order has been restored in the country. The game plan appears to be to quell the disturbances ahead of the January 30 elections and then to proceed with the trial once a democratically elected Iraqi government is in place. But even if this is achieved, huge problems will have to be overcome to ensure that the trial meets international standards. And without a fair trial, the proceedings will lack legitimacy. That would not be a good start for the new Iraqi regime. Making sure that the judges are both safe - and sufficiently well-trained - will not be easy. Some have already been sacked and the administrator of the war crimes tribunal has found himself facing murder charges. Meanwhile, martial law and the death penalty - highly unattractive features of Hussein's regime - have been put back in place by the Iraqi interim government. The images of a dishevelled and humiliated Hussein emerging from his underground hideaway and being taken into captivity are still fresh in the memory. But there is a long way to go before it can be said that the tyrant has been brought to justice.