Wednesday, December 15, 2004

More justice

Hot on the heels of the Pinochet indictement is the news that the Iraqi regime will be putting top Ba'athists on trial. I'm suspicious about the timing - designed to garner maximum publicity in the runup to the January 30th elections - but cannot do anything but welcome the news. To the extent that these people have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity (and not all may have been - the case against Chemical Ali is pretty open and shut, but that against former Deputy PM Tariq Aziz may be less clear), they should be tried and sentenced by proper process of law in an open court for all to see. In order for this to be seen as anything more than "victor's justice", it must be conducted according to the highest standards.

War crimes will only end when potential war criminals fear punishment; that will only happen when we end impunity. By punishing Saddam's henchmen, Iraq will be sending a message to tyrants everywhere that one day, they too may be held accountable for their actions.