Thursday, December 28, 2006

A slow-motion lynching

The rejection of Saddam Hussein's appeal comes as no surprise. From beginning to end, Saddam's trial for the murders of Dujail has resembled more of a slow-motion lynching than any exercise in justice. Failure to disclose evidence to the defence, refusal to allow the defence to confront and test prosecution witnesses, stacked standards of evidence and outright judicial bias (and where it was not present, a change of judges) all meant that the trial failed to meet basic international standards of justice and fairness. To execute someone after such a farce simply compounds the injustice. But then, this has never been about justice; rather it is about revenge - exactly as Saddam's murders were all those years ago.

This is an insult to justice and an insult to Saddam's victims. There's no real doubt of Saddam's guilt, so why bother to stack the deck? Worse, it will allow people to claim forever that Saddam's "trial" was simply an exercise in "victor's justice". And sadly, they'll be right.