Monday, August 21, 2006



Justice for al-Anfal

Saddam Hussein goes on trial again today, this time over the 1987-88 Anfal campaign. During the campaign, Kurdish villages were systematically destroyed by bombing, artillery, and poison gas, and Kurds subjected to execution, mass deportations, and imprisonment in concentration camps. An estimated 182,000 civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands more displaced, and so the charges are - quite appropriately - war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

I only hope they handle it better than the farce they've had over Dujail. As I've said before, even Saddam deserves a fair trial, both on moral grounds and pragmatic ones. I want Saddam to face justice, not simply revenge. I want his crimes thoroughly documented and proven so that no-one can have any doubt about what occurred, not simply alleged with no room allowed for dispute. And I want his trial to serve as a warning to future tyrants and genocideres, rather than one to those seeking to hold them responsible for their crimes. And if the Iraqi trial is not going to deliver that, then I would rather that it not go ahead at all rather than see people able to excuse Saddam on the basis that his trial was nothing but "victor's justice".

11 comments:

Show trials are very annoying. I suggest we either try leaders as common criminals in common criminal courts with no more rights or time alocated than any other common criminal. and if they are found not guilty then give them a house in some far away country and tell them coming back might result in them facing a real charge.

that way you can spend the billions on rebuilding the country instead of some stupid ongoing trial that you either have to cheat, loose, or wait for the defendant to die of old age and potentially all three.

If Prison time is not seen as a deterant in normal criminal cases what is the odds that it will be seen as one in war crimes cases?

Posted by Genius : 8/21/2006 08:56:00 PM

I kinda got the impression you opposed the very action that brought Saddam to trial?

M'lud

Posted by Anonymous : 8/22/2006 12:29:00 AM

>>>> I kinda got the impression you opposed the very action that brought Saddam to trial?

At the cost of at least another 40,000 Iraqui lives and an on-going cluster-fuck civil war. If this is the best democracy the West can export I suggest we need to "tweak" the product a little.

Posted by Logix : 8/22/2006 12:41:00 AM

But surely you can't have it both ways: if you have been steadfast in opposing the war that toppled Saddam and brought him to trial then you obviously would prefer Iraq to have not been invaded and Saddam to still be in power.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/22/2006 01:59:00 AM

But surely...

I can't tell whether this is sarcastic or anonymous thinks it's still 2003.

Posted by space : 8/22/2006 05:07:00 AM

Where does the figure of 182000 come from?

Posted by Anthony : 8/22/2006 08:55:00 AM

Anonymous said...
"But surely you can't have it both ways: if you have been steadfast in opposing the war that toppled Saddam and brought him to trial then you obviously would prefer Iraq to have not been invaded and Saddam to still be in power."

I'll just point out the most obvious flaw in your argument: invasion is not the only way to change a leader.

Posted by Anthony : 8/22/2006 09:07:00 AM

Anthony: Wikipedia, who seem to have sourced it from Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International.

BBC quotes 180,000, so it seems to be in the right ballpark.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/22/2006 10:52:00 AM

Anthony,
but it became so terribly un PC to fund overthrows or rebel forces recently.
And buying off these guys gets a bad wrap as well.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/22/2006 02:14:00 PM

Brutal foreign dictators: can't invade them, can't employ sanctions against them. Can't refuse to play them at cricket.

Never would have happened in my day.

M'lud

Posted by Anonymous : 8/22/2006 03:30:00 PM

Haha, what a load of bollocks.

How about starting by not helping to create such criminal leaders in the first place? A good way to do that is to start at home by getting rid of our own war criminals.

Those who supported the invasion of Iraq have a bloody cheek even opening their mouths in my opinion. The same people who waged war against the Iraqi people for their own narrow despicable interests were the same people who supported Saddam in the first place (against the wishes of many leftists at the time I might add). They need to be dragged in front of a court and executed. And if that can't happen then I hope they're assasinated, preferably just after they get their cushy new jobs outside of politics.

Posted by Anthony : 8/22/2006 08:07:00 PM