Saddam Hussein was hanged this morning (03:00 GMT – 06:00 Baghdad time) for crimes against humanity, following the 1982 killings of 148 Shias in the town of Dujail.
Yes, the killings will continue. Yes, the allies screwed up the occupation of Iraq. Many are warning of increasing violence in Iraq, although it’s hard to see how things could get much worse there.
Video footage of his final moments on the gallows has just been released. He looked calm, and the BBC are making much of this. The opponents of the death penalty are up in arms about his execution. The media are pushing the fact that he may be seen as a martyr. Iraqis have been celebrating in the streets.
Saddam’s defence lawyers have said there has been a great injustice. There can be no doubt that he was guilty. No technicalities were going to save him and he deserved his sentence, which was carried out in a far more humane way than the justice he meted out.
Nevertheless, swathes of people will become apologists just because of the manner of his death. That’s fine – argue against the death sentence, but please don’t try to defend the indefensible.
Yeah, Saddam was guilty; that doesn’t change the fact he should have had a fair and properly conducted trial. This should have been a chance for the Iraqi people to investigate and put to bed the details of Saddam’s wrong-doings, instead it was a kangaroo court followed by a rushed execution.
The trial was conducted publicly and in accordance with Iraqi law, according to their constitution which was ratified by referendum. With an anti-capital punishment agenda, organsiations such as Amnesty Internation and Human Rights Watch are bound to oppose any process that inevitably (and let’s face it, the evidence is indisputable) leads to the execution of someone.
The BBC reported 70 further deaths in Iraq yesterday. Amnesty should stick to campaigning for genuine prisoners of conscience. Saddam was objectively guilty of crimes against humanity. We have all seen evidence of his crimes. It could be argued that the trial was indeed a show trial to the extent that it should not have happened. Summary execution was what he deserved. He got more than most of his victims ever got.
I hardly consider the International Court of Justice to be a shining example of justice, following the comedy that was Slobodan Milošević’s trial. If we had tried Saddam under the same system, he would indeed have died before all the cases against him could be heard and I’m sorry, but the guy is simply not worth the money.