Sunday, November 5

V for...

The Iraqi Special Tribunal in Baghdad on Sunday, November 5 sentenced Saddam Hussein to be hanged. This was the verdict of the first trial against Saddam for the execution of 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail, after a purported assassination attack on him on July 8, 1982. The trial which began on October 19, 2005 concluded on Sunday with the total verdict including,
1. death sentence for willful killings,
2. 10 years for forcible deportation, and
3. 10 years for torture.
Others convicted in the same case include,
1. Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam’s half brother and head of his Domestic Intelligence Agency – death sentence;
2. Awad al-Bandar, President of his Revolutionary Court – death sentence;
3. Taha Yasim Ramadan, former Vice President - life imprisonment;
4. 3 local Baath Party officials - 15 years of imprisonment for willful murder and another 7 years for torture.
Only one Baath party official was acquitted for lack of evidence.
Saddam’s lawyers have argued that he was justified in ordering a crackdown on the would-be-assassins as they were Iranian backed Shiite militants and Iraq and Iran were at war at that time.

Under the Iraqi judicial system the case now directly goes to the appellate chamber of the trial court on Monday. Though the chamber does not have to follow any specific deadlines, it is being predicted that Saddam could be hanged next spring after the chamber’s verdict. A second trial on charges of genocide during the 1986-89 Anfal campaign against the Kurds is also underway since August 21, 2006. Six other co-defendants are also being tried for the same.

The Saddam Hussein trial had been marked by delays, violence and courtroom drama. Three defense lawyers were killed during the trial and the original judge, Rizkar Mohammed Amin resigned in protest of governmental interference. Rauf Rashid Abdel Rahman, a Kurd was later appointed in his place. Human rights organizations like the Amnesty International, and international legal experts have questioned the impartiality of the verdict. According to them there were serious shortcomings in the fairness of the proceedings that undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the trial.

Some critics view the timing of the verdict to have been manipulated to come just before the midterm elections in the US on November 7. Failure in Iraq has been an important election campaign issue and surveys have predicted a loss for the Republicans due to it. The Bush administration had come under severe domestic and international criticism over the Iraq war and its failure in finding the purported WMDs, and restoring democracy and peace to the country. The issue of massive American causalities has been prominent in the election campaign. The verdict thus assumes political significance and could be used by the Republicans as a ‘victory’ point to gain some last minute votes. However, White House spokesman Tony Snow has rubbished such claims as being too farfetched and said that the judiciary in Iraq is working independently.

The verdict could also be a political blessing for the current Iraqi government. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil; for a democratically elected government over the tyrannical rule of a dictatorial Saddam Hussein. It can create a sense of the ‘government working for the masses’, as it is the Iraqi judiciary that has passed the verdict. It can lead to a trust in the present government. However, it is also true that bloodshed and misery continue to be a part of Iraqi life even today with regular clashes between the Shias and Sunnis, and the American military presence. The divide between the Shias and Sunni Arabs in Iraq could also increase further as the Sunni Arabs view the verdict as a political charade that satisfies the political agenda of the Shiite led government and the Bush administration.

Whether the verdict actually translates into a Republican majority in the Congress would be clear in a couple of days. Whether it translates into peace and fortune for the Iraqis is the real question.


Jersey McJones said...

"It symbolizes the victory of good over evil;"

If you're simpleton.

Look, I knew this was going to happen. First they catch him or kill him (I think they’d rather have killed him), then it’s off to the Show Trial where only limited charges are brought and no new light is cast on his regime, and it’s off to a quick hanging. Hands washed and dried. Now, I know the conservative voters are too stupid and incurious to feel this way, but don’t the rest of us want to hear what this man has to say? Don’t we want full investigations of all his allegedly nefarious activities? What about the UN/Oil For Food scandal (I thought you sleazy, lying cons at least cared about that!)? Anybody curious? Don’t we want to know what was really going on in Saddam’s Iraq - the weapons, the oppression, the corruption? No? I mean, sure, we know that we have to take his words for what they’re worth, but don’t we want to at least hear them? What about his alleged ties to terrorists, stupid fuckin' cons? Wouldn’t we want to hear what he has to say about that? No? Afterall, Iraq is the “Central Front” in the idiotic “War on Terror,” isn’t it?



Manasi said...

JMJ: Everyone knew the verdict. The verdict is not a surprise. A contrary verdict would have been a political death for Bush. You don't do that in an election year, do you?
And do you expect Saddam to go out in the court and tell you what he really did?! He knows he is in there for good and nothing he says or does is going to make matters better for him. He might as well stand his stand and be a hero for those that worship him!