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, November 11, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around

In an interesting reversal of fate, it appears that Donald Rumsfeld one of the men primarily responsible for the Iraq fiasco may face criminal abuse charges.

Rumsfeld, who was "resigned" as US defence secretary this week, may face criminal charges in Germany for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

The US group Centre for Constitutional Rights, representing a Saudi detained in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad, has filed a criminal complaint against Rumsfeld.

German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.

A similar request was made in 2004 by the centre, but German prosecutors dropped that case.

The argument runs that Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad, and that Rumsfeld personally approved torture to be used to extract information from the prisoners.

In addition to filing charges against Rumsfeld, the centre also wants to prosecute US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet.

The complaint will be filed with German federal prosecutors on Tuesday.

How ironic that as Saddam has been brought to a form of "justice", those that initiated the attack should also face legal scrutiny for their actions. It is even more ironic given Rumsfeld's association with Saddam back in the 1980's.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Verdict Timing "Suspect"

The row over the delay in delivering the verdict on Saddam Hussein's first trial, to the 5th of November (two days before the US midterms), won't go away.

The former British Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, has accused the US of delaying the verdict deliberately to coincide with the midterms.

He was speaking on the BBC show "Question Time", and said that the timing of the verdict was "deeply suspect".

The White House claims that the accusations are "preposterous", saying that the Iraqi judges determined the timing.

The trouble is that justice must not just be done, but be seen to be done.

Sir Malcolm does not believe the US, and said that he believed the US told the Iraqi court to hold off until just before the US elections.

President Bush, before being given a "thumping" in the midterms, welcomed the verdict as a "milestone" in the efforts of the Iraqi people "to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law".

Downing Street has refused to comment on Sir Malcolm's "suspicions".

To repeat, justice must not just be done but be seen to be done. Where there is suspicion of political interference the justice system itself is brought into disrepute, and its decisions laid open to criticism.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saddam's Second Trial Continues

Saddam Hussein and six of his aides were back in court yesterday, as his second trial continued.

The defence demanded that the court order an investigation into the ransacking of the defence offices, guarded by U.S. soldiers in the heavily fortified Green Zone, last month.

Badie Aref Izzat said:

"I demand to open investigation with the American authorities because the offices were guarded by U.S. soldiers.

I have received 1429 pieces of totally black papers

The judge ordered that the prosecutors provide a new set of documents to the defence team.

Four witnesses took the stand to testify in the trial of operation Anfal (Spoils of War) military campaign, in which prosecutors said that up to 180,000 Kurds were killed.

Ayoub Abdellah Mohammad said that his village was bombed by chemical weapons on August 24 1988:

"The court can now scrutinize the village to see the remains of bombing, rockets and shrapnel."

Tawfeeq Abdul-Aziz Mustafa said that his village was bombed by chemical weapons, and that he and several villagers buried some badly charred bodies before they fled to neighboring Turkey.

A third female witness said that she lost her husband and her son along with 27 other relatives, and have not found them till now.

However, one of Saddam's codefendants, Sabir al-Douri, from military intelligence, said that Kurdish guerrillas were collaborating with the Iranians.

Judge Ureiybi adjourned the trial till November 27th, to give the defence time to assemble a list of witnesses.

Rumsfeld Goes

Yesterday's article was right about Rumsfeld leaving office before the year end, see Rumsfeld To Go.

However, he went faster than predicted.

Sorry about that!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld To Go

Donald Rumsfeld the failed US Defence Secretary and one of the main architects of the failed Iraq invasion and occupation, will be leaving office before the end of this year.

Source Channel 4 News 7 November 2007 (click on the watch the report link)

Candidates to replace him are being approached, two have already declined the poison chalice. However, it is expected that Senator John Warner will replace him.

At the time of writing the Democrats have swept to power in Congress, the final results for the Senate are yet to be announced. Dick Cheney, another man with blood on his hands, has gone shooting.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Iraq Watchdog To Close Down

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal agency serving the American public as a watchdog for fraud, waste, and abuse of funds intended for Iraq reconstruction programs, will close in 2007.

The watchdog has exposed corrupt practices within the Bush administration, and cynics claim that its closure is due to its findings of fraud and corruption which make uncomfortable reading for supporters of Bush's failed Iraq venture.

The audit office began operations in March 2004.

Currently, SIGIR has 82 open preliminary and criminal investigations. Twenty–five of those cases are currently at the Department of Justice (DoJ), and many are in the final stages of prosecution. Two cases have resulted in convictions and are currently pending sentence.

Back in Court

Notwithstanding Sunday's death sentence, Saddam Hussein is back in court today for the continuance of his second trial for genocide.

Quite whether this second trial will have finished before the death sentence is carried out for the first trial is unclear.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Shabby Affair

Amnesty International has said that it "deplores" the death penalty given to Saddam Hussein.

Malcolm Smart, speaking on behalf of Amnesty, said:

"[The trial] has been a shabby affair, marred by serious flaws that call into question the capacity of the tribunal, as currently established, to administer justice fairly, in conformity with international standards."

If Saddam's appeal fails, it is likely he will be dead by Christmas; irrespective of the status of his current trial.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein Sentenced To Hang

Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death by hanging.

He was found guilty over his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982.

His brother Barzan al-Tikriti was also sentenced to death, along with Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bander

Former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15 year prison terms.

Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

Saddam shouted out "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Greatest) and "Long live Iraq. Long live the Iraqi people!" after the judge announced the verdict.

He has the option to appeal the sentence.

In the meantime the long suffering people of Iraq wait to see if this verdict leads to a rise in violence, as predicted by some.

In the USA President Bush faces midterms on the 7th of November, it is predicted that the Republican party will be heavily defeated as voters vent their spleens on Bush for the failure of the Iraq mission. The voters will also bring Bush to account for the theft of $800M, designated to help rebuild Iraq, by key Iraqi officials from under the noses of the US administration.

Mission accomplished!