Saddam Death Sentence Upheld

Today, Saddam Hussein’s death sentence has been upheld and he will be executed in 30 days. It’s important to take a look at how he was sentenced and how his trial was conducted. Human Rights Watch released a disturbing report in November that detailed possible fundamental flaws in Saddam’s trial.

Some of the flaws identified were in the areas of court documentation, security for defense lawyers, weaknesses in defense representation, concerns about the presumption of innocence and the impartiality of the trial itself, problems with the defense’s ability to prepare for trial, the inability of the defense to question witnesses, and finally the disruptions of the defense counsel especially the international lawyers like Ramsey Clark who’s sole strategy was to disrupt the trial, among other flaws. Suffice to say, the Iraqi High Tribunal was nothing more than a kangaroo court. Saddam’s trial was unfair and he deserves a new trial at the very least.

This farcial trial and the execution will hurt American credibility in the world even more than its already hurt because this will tell the world we are not serious about civil liberties. It will tell the world that we are willing to have a kangaroo court conduct a farcical trial in order to give “legitmacy” to basically murdering Saddam. If the United States and the Iraqi government is serious about freedom and justice in Iraq, they admit the originial trial was a farce, rewrite the laws authorizing the Iraqi High Tribunal to better protect defendants’ rights and maintain order in the trial, protect witnesses’ security, bring in international experts to monitor the retrial, and retry Saddam for his crimes this time following accepted international rules of jurisprudence.

Finally, to all those soon to be commenters and bloggers who will accuse me of implying that Saddam is innocent or somehow a nice guy, I’m not saying that at all. I’m simply making the arguement that we do not suspend the rules for fair trials just because the defendant ran a state that was in the business of mass murder. It does everyone involved from the American soldiers who will be the targets of the rage that will result from the execution, to the victims of Saddam’s government who will be dishonored by the farcical trial, to the Iraqi and American governments who will bear the international criticism, rightly in this case, for the proceedings, to the Iraqi people who will face an even more dangerous security situation, if that’s possible, to finally the American people who will be an even more tempting target to Islamic terrorists seeking revenge for Saddam’s death; more harm than good to have the kangaroo court than a fair trial.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
  • tonya

    As a soldier currently in Iraq, I have not had the oppotunity to watch any of Saddam’s trial. I do, however, appreciate the last paragraph in the article. If, in fact, the trial was conducted the way that the Humanitarian groups are saying it was conducted, then give the man another, fair trial. However, I believe that the only way that a completely fair trial could be conducted is to have an international trial. Otherwise, no matter what rules are upheld, the persons involved in the trial will still be individuals who were affected by Saddam’s rule in one fashion or another and will have prejudicies. Yes, his own people should be the ones to judge him, but maybe we should expand on that to include all persons who are Arab and Islamic from this region. It is not a complete solution, but it is a suggestion. Unfortunately, if the Iraqis backdown from the decision that has already been made, then they lose face and honor, something that is completely unacceptable to the Arab nations.

  • Brad Warbiany

    How much of he disruption was caused by Saddam and his defense team themselves? I haven’t followed this trial too closely, but how much of this was Saddam and his team dliberately trying to make the trial illegitimate?

  • Kevin

    Actually, quite a lot of it. Most of the in court disruptions were by the defendants themselves. In addition, Saddam’s foreign lawyers spent more time giving political speeches in the cross examination than actually questioning the witnesses. But there were fundamental flaws in the set up and execution (pardon the pun) of the trial itself, which in an American courtroom, would be grounds for a new trial.