Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Judges Can't Control Hussein Trial

The team of judges overseeing the first of the trials involving deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein appear incapable of controlling the tyrant's outbursts and disruptions, allowing Hussein to turn the proceedings into a circus sideshow. (Washington Post: In Courtroom, Hussein Acts Out Old Role With Flourish).

Hussein has repeatedly challenged the courts purpose and jurisdiction, repeatedly accusing the court of being a US puppet. On numerous occasions, he has taken to lecturing the justices on Iraqi law and on how they are conducting the trail, something that would never be tolerated for a moment in a US courtroom. Yet there, the justices meekly sit as children being scolded for their transgressions.

Regardless of the trial's outcome, Hussein is succeeding in undermining the authority of the court. His outbursts are invigorating to his supporters, and provide new fodder for the embattled insurgency. As I've said on countless occasions, holding a trial in this fashion in Iraq by Iraqi judges is a tremendous tactical error and sets a very dangerous precedent. Historically, this type of trial would be held before a military tribunal comprised of the victor nations. Nuremberg is the classic example. The side-show surrounding this trial is a clear example as to why that is necessary.

For security purposes alone it makes no sense to conduct this trial in Iraq. As long as Hussein is alive, he will be viewed by his dwindling supporters as a hostage in need of rescue. We've already seen the assassinations of defense attorneys in an attempt to disrupt or prevent the proceedings. The judges themselves have been under death threats from the beginning. It makes no sense at all to conduct this trial in Iraq where the terrorists have the ability to engage in disruption activities.

This trial needs to come to a swift conclusion. The best possible outcome is for it to end quickly, have Saddam convicted, sentenced to death, and executed before any more damage is done to the fragile Iraqi government. As long as he is alive, he remains a spark in the smoldering embers of a few militants that would like to see him back in power. Any outcome short of a death sentence is simply intolerable. Let's end this side-show as quickly as possible.

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1 comment :

scott said...

I agree totally that the prosecutors have allowed this to be a circus.