NY Times Concerned about Human Rights - for Saddam

October 18th, 2005 12:00 PM
From 1979 until 2003, Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. He was a brutal dictator, a head-of-state who waged war on his neighbors and his own people. He ruled over his people with an iron fist, utilizing torture and murder as weapons of statecraft. The coalition that ejected him from Kuwait in 1991 left him in power, at extreme cost to thousands more Iraqis. He supported terrorism in Israel, paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He provided safe haven for Abu Abbas and other international terrorists. Well, he's finally going to be put on trial for his crimes, and what is the first concern of the NY Times? That he might not get a fair trial.
On Wednesday, 22 months after he was dragged from his hiding place in an underground bunker, Saddam Hussein will appear in an Iraqi court to answer for the brutalities he inflicted on his fellow Iraqis. But what should be a moment of triumph for his victims is instead stirring concern about the fairness and competence of the court itself.
I'm a big supporter of fairness and competence in courts. This is not a situation, however, in which those would be my overriding concerns. It's certainly not the way that I'd lead a story about Hussein's trial.
...Western human rights groups and legal experts have warned that the former dictator is unlikely to get a fair trial, and that the probable outcome, a death sentence, will be what the tribunal's harshest critics have described as "victor's justice."
The key word in "victor's justice" is "justice." Does anyone want to make the argument that a death penalty imposed upon Saddam Hussein would not, somehow, represent justice?
Critics here and abroad have said that the proper forum for the trials would have been an international tribunal of the kind that has spent four years hearing the case against the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, in The Hague.
That statement right there says all that I need to know about "the critics..." Lyflines - Lyford's other blog…