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Friday, July 02, 2004

from Iraq The Model: New points of view about the future of Iraq

This picture released by the US Department of Defense
shows former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein arriving
in shackles and under Iraqi custody for his initial
interview with an Iraqi judge July 1.(AFP/POOL/Karen Ballard)

by Zayid al-Baghdadi: "the people of Iraq thirst for Justice"
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.

Iraqi Shiite Muslims demonstrate following Friday noon prayers,
demanding the execution of former dictator Saddam Hussein in
Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazemiya.(AFP/Karim Sahib)

by Mohammed: "Please do not let this happen again"
Where are your supporters and where are your loyal servants?
Why didn’t we see millions cheering your name or calling for your innocense?
Why didn’t any Iraqi lawyer accept to defend you?
We reject you and we’d like to expel you out of our minds forever.
We’re nothing like you and we’re not going to treat you the way you treated your opponents when you grabbed power.
We’re going to get a fair trial and you’re going to have lawyers to defend you and we will listen to you although you refused to listen to us for thirty five years.
We will not start our new life with mistakes like you did; this is a new Iraq, an Iraq that neither you nor any of your fellow criminals can recognize.
The new Iraq is totally different from what you wanted or planned in your sick mind.
This is the Iraq where everyone listens to anyone even to criminals like you.
The people of Iraq have judged you decades ago, from the first day you came to power.
Your denial to the people’s judgement didn’t do you any good; all the killing and all the torture you did will haunt you.
This is the moment to carry out a sentence that was agreed on decades ago.
I cried when I saw you in that cage because it took a very long time to happen and it has cost us a lot.
We hope that the world will never allow such a crime to happen again.
A whole nation had her history written with tears and blood and pain and humiliation and death.
Please do not let this happen again.
Let’s learn a lesson from the suffering of Iraq.
And let’s make it a trial for the history that caused all this to happen, not only for Saddam.