Sunday, 5 November 2006

Case closed (?): Saddam Hussein sentenced

This relates to the situation in Iraq, and is a supplement to the "Iraq situation" series.
The biggest trial since Michael Jackson's, the trial of Saddam Hussein has finally come to a halt. In this trial, evidence was presented on charges of crimes against humanity.

Former --Iraqi (posts)-- leader Saddam Hussein (profile), along with two co-defendants, has been sentenced to death by hanging, the Baghdad-based Iraqi High Tribunal has ruled. Among those happy are US officials (US midterm elections are only a few days away), Shias (including predominately Shia nations such as Iran), Kurds, and others oppressed under the dictator's decades-long rule that ended with the United States-led coalition invasion in 2003. Those who are disgruntled by the death sentence include some human rights groups, people/bodies who/that recognize the human right to life (including the EU), supporters of Saddam and other — but not all — Sunnis.

This BBC article summarizes this latest event well:

The former Iraqi leader was convicted over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

US President George W Bush said the verdict was a "milestone" for Iraq but the EU urged it not to execute him.

The capture of Saddam, and this trial, really will ultimately not matter much in Iraq's history — as much (while the toppling of Saddam does certainly warrant the label of 'milestone') as President Bush and Neoconservatives would like to Americans to believe. However, the trial will probably play into the hands of the GOP. It is no coincidence that the ruling came today, two days before US midterms. United States Vice President Dick Chaney had recently — more than ever — pushed for a verdict soon before the elections, and he was not the only White House or Republican figure pushing for such a timely ruling on a matter that engrosses so many of the headlines and issue lists. The main question is whether this ruling will change the minds of potential voters or if voters will even see it as connected to the central issue of the war in Iraq.

This trial has been marred by many questionable judicial rulings and the alleged (when you have defense lawyers being killed all of the time and the justice system doing nothing about it, I would call it a questionable trial) stripping of basic trial rights. These characteristics of this roller coaster ride of a trial seem to have shown that a fair trial was not given to Saddam in a country that can only hesitantly be called a democracy (e.g. free press)

It is not like Saddam — and us watching on the sidelines — did not see this coming, it is the way the trial went about and the method of punishment that disgruntles me. Not only does the ruling of penalty of death almost certainly elevate sectarian violence, but the death penalty shows even more that Iraqi justice is questionable to human rights standards. Capital punishment is inhumane (and uncivilized), in face the US is the only truly developed country that still [readily] uses it. That eye for a an eye, tooth for a tooth mentality should be long gone... I mean, who wants to be blind and toothless?

See my views on withdraw of foreign troops from Iraq.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
In Perspective

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said ;-)