Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The limits of Iraq's "sovereignty"

The new, "sovereign" Iraq isn't even a day old, and it's running into the limits on its "sovereignty" already. Yesterday, the US-established Central Criminal Court acquited a prisoner on cahrges of attacking US troops and ordered his release. The US response? Ignore the verdict and throw him straight back into Abu Ghraib, of course. This is apparently justified because Iraqi judges "were reluctant to sentence Iraqis for attacking coalition forces". But if you're going to ignore the verdict, then why bother with the pretense of a "court" at all?

The US was happy enough to respect the court's authority when it issued an arrest warrant for Moqtada al-Sadr. It should also respect it on matters of guilt or innocence. Iraqi sovereignty and the rule of law demand nothing less.