Posted by: bureaucratgirl | December 31, 2006

Saddam Hussein’s Execution – Some Points to Ponder

When I started this blog, I swore to myself that I would steer clear from controversial political issues – this is after all, supposedly a respite from the pressures of grad school. Reading some of the posts out there in WordPress, I would like to put my two cents in, and provide some links to other sources that talk about the process Saddam was tried, and eventually executed.

***This post is not a pro-Saddam post. However, it is a pro-justice and pro-human rights post. ***

Saddam committed massive human rights violations when he was in power – this post will not argue that. Nonetheless, he is still entitled to a fair trial, an honest judgment, and a justly applied punishment. As stated by Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program, “the test of a government’s commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders”. Saddam’s trial was the first carried out by the Iraqi High Tribunal, and could have been an opportunity to show a glimmer of democracy in the nation.

For those interested, here is the link to the executive summary of the Human Rights Watch Report. Some of the procedural shortcomings highlighted by the report include:

  1. The Iraqi High Tribunal was undermined from the outset by Iraqi government actions that threatened the independence and perceived impartiality of the court.
  2. The Iraqi administrators, judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers lacked sufficient training and expertise “to fairly and effectively try crimes of this magnitude.”
  3. The government did not protect defense lawyer, three of whom were killed during the trial – or key witnesses.
  4. There were serious flaws in the trial, including failures to disclose key evidence to the defense, violations of the defendants’ right to quesion prosecution witnesses, and the presiding judge’s demonstration of bias.
  5. Hussein’s defense laywers had 30 days to file an appeal from the November 5 verdict. However, the trial judgment was only made available to them on November 22, leaving just two weeks to respond.

Over here, you can find some articles that don’t make it into the mainstream media.

I’d like to end this post by saying that human rights are held by all persons equally, universally, and forever. They are inalienable and indivisible – meaning we cannot loose these rights, and are entitle to all of them. Saddam Hussein violated other people’s human rights, but we, in the international community should not consent the violation of his own.

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