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Saddam Being Led to a Court Hearing Last December
—BBC NEWS VIDEO: At Trial Opening, Saddam Pleads Not Guilty, Sept. 21, 00:03:05
—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Saddam's Defense Team Makes Their Case, Sept. 21, 00:02:29
—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Extended Footage of Saddam's First Day in Court, Sept. 21, 00:05:20

Bush's Kangaroo Court in Iraq

Saddam Husseinís trial has been engineered to avoid any mention of the war that the dictator inflicted on Iran, due in good measure to the influence of the United States. According to this op-ed article from the Tunis Hebdo of Tunisia, the way that the trial is being conducted is sure to dangerously inflame the already deep divisions in Iraqi society.

By Tahar Selmi

October 24 - 30 Issue

Tunis Hebdo - Home Page (French)    

Dreyfus Split France As Saddam Splits Iraq

The trial of Saddam Hussein recalls in many respects the famous "Dreyfus Affair." It has hardly even begun, and already it has created a violent debate between allies and adversaries of the former Master of Baghdad; it splits the Iraqi people into two distinct parts; it divides Arab public opinion (but not Arab governments!); and it has agitated human rights defenders around the world.

Saddam on Trial

†[Editorís Note: The "Dreyfus Affair" was a political scandal that created great rifts in French society during the 1900s. It centered on the 1894 treason conviction of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery officer in the French army. Dreyfus was charged with passing military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. Dreyfus was, in fact, innocent; the conviction rested on false documents. After spending years at Devilís Island, Dreyfus was pardoned in 1899, readmitted into the army, and made a knight in the Legion of Honor.[Read More About Dreyfus]

Suspicious, and without doubt calculated, the way in which this trial is being administered worsens the dissension between those for and against the former dictator, inflames passions and has all the ingredients to spark a major conflagration in the country of Rafidaine [the Land of the Two Rivers: Iraq], and elsewhere.

Everything possible was done to prevent this trial from being transparent and equitable, as would have befitted a just democracy: broadcast of the questioning is delayed; the remarks of defendants are cut short; TV cameras donít move; and the absence of eyewitnesses, Draconian restrictions on the international press and the non-governmental organizations, as well as a defense lawyer murdered ... all combine to create merely a pretence of justice. All things considered, it hardly differs from trials that occur under the extreme totalitarian regimes Mr. George Walker Bush claims to be fighting.

International law - and human rights for all - has been weakened. This is the greatest victim of this trial. The procedure has been perverted in the most arrogant way.

First of all, the occupying power has assumed "sovereignty" to set in place a judicial structure to try Saddam Hussein: the famous Iraqi Special Tribunal, created in 2003 under American military occupation. And secondly, it named a Kurdish judge, Magistrate Rizgar Mohamed Amine, as the president of the tribunal. A magistrate who is judge and jury!†

'U.S. is the Real Judge, Iraqis are Just a Tool' [Al Quds, UAE].

In the face of such flagrant legal infringements, international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and a large number of people in the global press, have expressed their doubts as to the fairness of the trial, pointing in particular to limits on the rights of the defense, the danger of the politization of the trial, and the maintenance of the death penalty.

"It is not a fair trial according to American or European criteria. The whole thing is a bit of a public relations circus," opined British jurist Jonthan Goldberg, speaking on the American television station CNN.

The curtain rose on the trial of "Satan Hussein," as it is known at the White House, on a matter that was rarely evoked before: the murder or disappearance of 143 Shiites from Doujail (northern Iraq), after the attempted assassination of Saddam in 1982. The former Master of Baghdad, however, is charged with committing far more serious crimes, like the "campaign" at Anfal (182,000 Kurds killed) to mention only the most famous massacre. The choice of the "slaughter of Doujail" is not at all fortuitous. It has the potential advantage of being a trial of short duration, but its chief benefit is that it avoids the release of information that would compromise the United States and its allies. Indeed, the eight-year-long-war (1980-1990) begun by Iraq against Iran, was in part an American war against the Ayatollahs of Teheran, carried out with Saddam as Washingtonís proxy.

A Mother holds Portraits of Her Sons, Lost in Dujail in 1982.

Washington and other Western capitals offered support to the heir of the Abbasids [Saddam], with money and military hardware. It is a sensitive subject that it would be imprudent to raise at this particular point in the process. "Much of the truth will remain hidden as a result of this trial," says an Iranian diplomat regretfully.

†[Editorís Note: The Abbasids ruled the former Caliphate of Baghdad, 750-1258 AD]. [Read More About the Abbasids]

If Saddam Hussein is found guilty for the crimes of Doujail, he could be executed before the other cases are examined. Would such an eventuality favor Iraqi national harmony, peace and stability?

This trial is a powerful ticking bomb. It will cause much ink to flow Ö and especially, a lot of blood.

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