The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Brother In Law of Saddam's Judge Assassinated

As Baghdad and Iraq further descend into chaos and strife, it is reported that Kadhem Abdul Hussein, the brother in law of Muhammed Ureybi the chief judge trying Saddam Hussein, was shot dead Thursday together with his son by unknown armed men in a western Baghdad neighborhood.

It is not clear as to whether the attack is linked to Saddam's trial.

Ureybi was appointed to replace chief judge Abdulla Al-Amiri last week, by the government, after judge Amiri was accused of being lenient with Saddam Hussein and his aides.

In my view this trial must be moved to a neutral country away from influence, chaos and state interference if it has any chance to succeed.

In other news the Iraqi government has ordered an immediate curfew in Baghdad, to run until Sunday morning. It is not clear as to why the curfew has been ordered.

The Iraqi government stated:

"The government has decided to enforce a curfew on vehicles and individuals starting from Friday evening until 0600 on Sunday morning (0200 GMT)."

As if to add to the growing sense of crisis surrounding the failed Iraq venture, Washington now has to contend with a book to be published on Monday by Bob Woodward (veteran Watergate investigator).

Mr Woodwards book, State of Denial, claims that the White House ignored warnings about inadequate troop numbers in Iraq and that the relationships between senior figures within the Administration are non existent.

The book claims that Bush's senior advisers are barely on speaking terms, yet always manage to dismiss assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq as being too pessimistic.

The book claims that Donald Rumsfeld was said to be so hostile towards Condoleezza Rice, when she was National Security Adviser, that he wouldn't return her calls and that Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls.

General John Abizaid, the US commander for the Middle East, is quoted as saying last year that "Rumsfeld doesn't have any credibility any more".

The book also notes that Andrew Card, the former White House chief of staff, had twice tried to force the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld over his mis-handling of the Iraq war.

Mission accomplished!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Saddam's Lawyers Urge Rejection

Saddam Hussein's lawyers are urging Iraqis to reject his trial on the basis that, in their belief, the court is biased against him.

The defence team, who are currently boycotting the trial, issued a statement yesterday, quote:

"We call upon the public opinion... to stop this farce after (the Iraqi court) intentionally prejudiced the feelings of Iraqis, Arabs and all good people by repeatedly trying to offend the dignity of President Saddam and his comrades."

What the statement should have called for, were it to be fully credible, would be for the trial to be moved to an international setting (eg the Hague) and for a formal Nuremberg style trial to be instituted.

Whatever the verdict, it is clear that under the current shambolic arrangements, that verdict will not be seen as credible by many parties; thus dangerously undermining the foundations of the new Iraq.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Trial Fit For A Dictator?

The Daily Telegraph has published a splendid piece that lambasts the ongoing farce of the Saddam Hussein trial, and notes that if any form of justice is to be done then Saddam should be removed from Iraq and given a Nuremberg style trial (as I have repeated often enough on this site).

Some may argue that Saddam will get his "just desserts" and that the form of trial makes no difference, as he does not deserve fairness or justice anyway.

Those who put forward this argument are wrong, they ignore the fact that the trial of Iraq's former leader will serve as the foundation for law and justice within the new Iraq (whatever form that may take). To start with a mismanaged and tragic farce, as we are currently witnessing, bodes ill for the future of the new Iraq.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saddam's Trial Adjourned

The trial of Saddam Hussein has been adjourned until October 9th.

Chief Judge Muhammed al-Ureybi has called the adjournment to allow defendants to contact their lawyers or appoint new ones.

Yesterday Saddam was ejected from court for a third time, as he tried to comment on the word Peshmerga, referring to Kurdish guerrilla, but the judge ordered him to sit down.

Saddam then said that the court was "unjust".

To which the judge reminded Saddam about their respective roles:

"You are the defendant and I am the judge here."

The judge then ordered Saddam to leave the room, at which point the codefendants all demanded to leave the court.

Amidst all of the hubbah bubbah, seven witnesses took the stand to complain about Saddam and his aides and the Anfal offensive in 1988.

The trial continues on 9th October, with or without the defendants and defence team.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Backwards and Forwards

In the topsy turvy world of Saddam Hussein's trial, nothing is ever certain. On Monday Saddam's lawyers boycotted the trail, protesting at state interference, having vented his spleen in court about the absence of his defence team:

"I don't want to be in this cage any more".

Saddam was duly ejected on Monday, only to return today to be given a lecture on judicial ethics.

Judge Al-Khalifa opened the hearing by saying:

"You are a defendant here. You have rights and obligations.

You can defend yourself, question witnesses and I am ready to allow you (to do so), but this is a court, not a political arena.

By disrespecting the court, you are only damaging your cause

Saddam asked for permission to respond, on being given permission, he started to read a prepared statement.

However, the judge interrupted, saying he would not allow him to read the statement "if it was the same letter I received from you."

Saddam, as is his wont, duly ignored the judge. The judge countered by allowing Saddam to read the statement, but with his microphones cut off.

The trial, with a court appointed defence team, continues.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Farce Continues

In keeping with the farcical nature of this trial, Saddam Hussein is back in court today without a defence team.

The reason?

They are boycotting it.

Chief defence lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi, and the rest of the defence team have decided to stay away in protest at government interference.

The defence team have said that they might return, if some of their demands are met. These include giving foreign lawyers the right to speak in court.

It may be all well and good, from a revenge perspective, to find Saddam guilty and to hang him. However, if that guilty verdict is based on a farcical and unjust court case the foundations of any future Iraqi sate will be undermined by it.

Justice must be seen to be done.