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Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Great Day For Human Beings Everywhere

We hear so much about the rule of law, and today law and justice have spoken in Iraq. Saddam Hussein and his half-brother will have their appeal, and their appeal will be turned down. This is because Saddam Hussein admitted to the charge in the courtroom himself:
Two U.S. officials who worked as advisers to the court on matters of international judicial procedures said Saddam's repeated courtroom outbursts during the nine-month trial may have played a key part in his conviction.

They cited his admission in a March 1 hearing that he had ordered the trial of 148 Shiites who were eventually executed, insisting that doing so was legal because they were suspected in the assassination attempt against him. "Where is the crime? Where is the crime?" he asked, standing before the panel of five judges.

Later in the same session, he argued that his co-defendants must be released and that because he was in charge, he alone must be tried. His outburst came a day after the prosecution presented a presidential decree with a signature they said was Saddam's approval for death sentences for the 148 Shiites, their most direct evidence against him.

About 50 of those sentenced by the "Revolutionary Court" died during interrogation before they could go to the gallows. Some of those hanged were children.
There is coverage on Pajamas Media here and here. Fox News has a video of Saddam's performance on hearing his sentence which makes it obvious that his lawyer is not telling the truth in saying that Saddam asked him to convey a message asking for no sectarian violence. In the courtroom, Saddam continued his claims that the entire trial is illegal and that the judges are traitors.

Al-Jazeera seems to have good coverage of Clark being thrown out of the courtroom, and I think the judge will be a hero to Iraqis for this action:
Clark, a member of Saddam's defence team and a strident critic of the conduct of his trial at the Iraqi HighTribunal, attended the start of the session but was ejected before Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging.

"Get him out of the hall. He came from America to ridicule the Iraqi people and ridicule the court," Judge Raud Abdel Rahman said. "A bad arrow returns to the chest of its shooter."

After the hearing, chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mussawi told reporters that the court would file a complaint against Clark with the American bar association, and also accused him of contempt.

"Clark submitted a study containing phrases humiliating to the Iraqi people and subsequently the court had no option but to take a decision to dismiss him from the session," Mussawi said at a news conference.
Reuters has another description. Clark submitted claims saying that the sentence should be delayed for 60 days until after the elections and saying that the trial was a travesty of justice. I think that the chief judge showed great restraint under the circumstances.

The yawpers in this country are well represented by DU's reaction to the sentence, although even on DU there are some who retain their wits:
41. Chimpy's version of Justice makes Saddam's version of Justice look wonderful

I just wish I knew what it was that Ramsey Clark did to get him removed from the court room. I think he was the one to ask the Iraqi court to delay the Saddam verdict for 60 days because of the US election coming up.

Wow...if that's the reason, that's a bad sign for any "justice"....its actually a really good request posed....
121. Well, it's definitely not to help the Democrats.

I have no idea why Ramsey Clark or any other attorney for Saddam would want to link the date of sentencing to the U.S. elections. In fact, it is monumentally stupid to do so, although (if the story is accurate) someone did. I say this for two reasons, one trivial and one substantive.

First, the suggestion that a Democratic victory next Tuesday would be good for Saddam is definitely NOT the message Ramsey Clark or any other progressive concerned about the U.S. elections should be wanting to put out right now. It will be interesting to see how Democratic candidates react to this news today. I hope most of them will applaud the verdict and agree that it is a necessary step for Iraq moving forward, whatever the future U.S. role may be. It is absurd that the trial has already taken this long -- it's as if the Russians had fished Hitler out of the bunker alive and three years later were still dickering on what to do with him.

Secondly, such a request is tantamount to waving a red flag in the face of the Iraqi court. The current Iraqi government is trying to put a country back together. This is obviously proving difficult, but we need to recognize that the people who have participated in the Iraqi political process, accepted posts in the government, served in the police, military, or the courts, etc. have quite literally put their lives on the line. They have made a bigger personal commitment than any of us here and deserve to be taken seriously. Demonstrating their independence from their overwhelmingly powerful ally and protector is a necessary and very sensistive part of their balancing act. For a lawyer for Saddam to suggest that this court proceeding be delayed in response to short term U.S. political considerations is a way to virtually guarantee his early execution.
103. Saddam was defending his people from, and retaliating against the people that bush just put into power.
78. the crimes against humanity of George W. Bush FAR surpass . . .those of Saddam . . . and, unlike Saddam, he's still perpetrating them . . . as president of the most powerful nation on Earth . . . and it looks like he's planning for more . . .

I am against the death penalty for anyone . . . but if Saddam deserves to be detained and punished, George Bush deserves it a hundred times more . . .
Fascinating, aren't they? Both Dr. Sanity and Shrinkwrapped have written about the narcissism of some on the left, and I think those who accept the idea that the US elections should influence the actions of the Iraqi courts are proof that the doctors know whereof they write.

This is a great day for human beings, because it is a day of law, and not vengeance. It is a day which Iraqis have risked their lives to bring about. It is a day of justice. It is a day in which Kuwaitis smile, and Shiites sing, and Kurds celebrate. It is a day when the Kurds who are still living with the effects of the poison gas attack upon them can believe in justice.

You can read about Dujail here, in an account by an Iraqi who was in the middle of it as a child:
I was too young to know why we were treated like that, but I sure knew the meaning of being scared to death. The sound of foot steps that stops by the door was enough for every one to freeze, as after that the door would be opened, a name of one of the men would be announced and he would be dragged to the interrogation room to return few hours later unconscious, covered by blood, wrapped in a blanket, and would be thrown on us.
The women and children had their share, and this is what saw: extraction of nails and teeth, electric shocks, whipping with lashes, using razors to tear the skin into shreds, my aunt was left hanging from the roof after her clothes had been wrapped of her in front of her brothers to force them to talk. Do you know how much pain we suffered? Can you imagine? I doubt it.
(After Saddam's fall)
We started to search the security departments in Baghdad,- like thousands of Iraqis- looking for a trace, I didn’t take a long time, we found what we were looking for. The documents of the crime, I read with tears in my eyes; the presidency order dated: 7 /23 /1985, signed by the tyrant, ordering the execution of 143 men from Al-Dujaile, the youngest one (Najeeb Abd Kadim) 11 years old.
Today is a day of justice.

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