Friday, July 02, 2004

The Devil's Advocate.

One of my fellow iraqi citizens has wrote an article about Saddam’s trial and sent it to me, and I see it worth publishing and I thought it will help readers to have more knowledge about how Iraqis think and feel regarding this trial. If you have any comments, please send them to the original writer’s e-mail.

The Devil's Advocate.

Facing the newly formed Iraqi court today, Saddam Hussein defiantly questioned the authority of the tribunal. Gazing at his surroundings, he sarcastically smiled, calling the set up a mere "theater". Promptly, numerous articles, many written by human rights activists and journalists, have come to signal the difficulties the Iraqi authorities will face in the process of prosecuting Saddam. Stories of missing evidence, unclear chains of command and invalid court legitimacy have come to surface, thus undermining the success of an effective trial.

Saddam, still claiming to be President of Iraq, held that he was immune to the jurisdiction of the court and refused to sign any document without the presence of an attorney. Participating in a bloody coup and ruthlessly rising to rule the ba’athist party are few of the many ingredients Saddam used to cook his so called legitimate presidency, and yet, the man who once shot his minister of health while presiding a meeting speaks of legal immunity.

The theater Saddam claimed to be standing in was also criticized for being a puppetry of stooges, with nothing but hand picked judges. How undemocratic one would say, forgetting that some of the world's leading judicial systems still handpick their Supreme Court judges. Furthermore, Saddam's legal defense team, which ironically does not include a single Iraqi lawyer, complains of the difficulties it faces in obtaining official recognition and a general lack of Justice. A 20 -strong team consisting mostly of Jordanian lawyers was assembled by Saddam's loving wife, and I ask, where are the unaccounted billions of dollars that mysteriously disappeared before the US-led invasion and how is she paying their salaries?

There is no perfect legal system and the people of Iraq thirst for Justice. We have seen the failures of International Law in the handling of the Milosovic case, and though the current Iraqi tribunal is far from perfect, it should follow its course without unnecessary delay. In an ideal world, all humans should be treated with equal dignity and respect. Sadly, those who least deserve this universal right seem to receive greater priority.

-By Zayid Al-Baghdadi

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