Viewpoint

Skyler Silvertrust

The decision to hang former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the subsequent rush to the gallows raises strong questions about the judicial integrity of his trial and of the Iraqi government.
The contrasting reaction to the Nov. 5 verdict was a testament to the divisions created by the overthrow of the Hussein regime in April 2003.
In the first place, Hussein’s captors greatly jeopardized his right to a fair trial by allowing a questionably freely elected government to administer justice.
Despite the supposed relinquishment of American control in Iraq, it is clear that the members of the new Iraqi government under Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki are little more than puppets, poorly hidden behind the thin veils of the American operators in the Middle East.
Hussein was sentenced for the killing 148 men and youths, a charge equivalent to that of crimes against humanity. Such a trial should have been held at the United Nations or the World Court, institutions designed for the administration of fair justice in instances of war crimes or genocide.
Instead, Hussein was dragged into an Iraqi court, already knowing his verdict, a situation comparable only to Eichmann in Jerusalem.
Though an appeal of the verdict was automatically granted, Hussein’s trial reveals greater flaws in the Iraqi appellate process. Hussein was ordered to be executed only 30 days after the verdict was delivered, leaving inadequate time to even prepare a briefing to determine if the trial had constitutional muster.
This is especially dubious in a trial that took many months. In an ordinary trial, to review such an extensive court record and present an argument would take, at the very least, months. The rush to execute Hussein greatly compromised the judicious appellate review of his trial.
It is still important to remember that questions of Hussein’s guilt are independent from those of justice and fairness. Hussein’s trial in Iraq did not grant him appropriate due process and, guilt aside, improper justice is no justice at all.

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