Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yes, trials ARE the American way

There's a twisted irony in the fact that Saddam Hussein was never convicted of the single worst charge brought against him, the claim that he authorized the use of chemical and nerve agents to murder innocent civilians (specifically in one Kurdish village, Halabja).

Under the charter of the Iraq Special Tribunal which tried and convicted Saddam Hussein, there was a "presumption of innocence" for that crime:

THE STATUTE OF THE IRAQI SPECIAL TRIBUNAL
SECTION THREE: Jurisdiction and Crimes
PART TWO: Rights of the Accused
Article 20.

a) All persons shall be equal before the Tribunal.

b) Everyone shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty before the Tribunal in accordance with the law.
 

http://replay.web.archive.org/20080611092448/http://www.cpa-iraq.org/human_rights/Statute.htm
In other words, Saddam Hussein, never having been convicted of the Halabja murders, is legally and by our own standards of justice, presumed innocent of that genocidal crime.

History now records that Saddam Hussein was hanged for executing the perpetrators of a plot to assassinate him and overthrow his government in military coup d'├ętat. Referred to as the Dujail Massacre, more than 140 people were sentenced and executed for their alleged involvement in the plot.  He was guilty of that, it was a harsh act, a brutal one, and it was an act of reprisal against his political enemies ... but it was not the genocidal murder of innocent civilians that Halabja was.

The trial of Saddam Hussein for the Halabja massacre should've been completed before his execution. My opinion is that someone did NOT want the truth to come out about that massacre.

As it stands, Saddam Hussein is innocent (by presumption) of that crime. Forever. That is the law.

There were damned good reasons why the Nazi officers were forced to stand trial for war crimes at Nuremberg before they were hanged.  There were reasons why the full truth was made public; documented, and committed to history.  Reasons that persist to this day.  Very few serious doubts remain about the atrocities that they committed in the name of "social cleansing."

There are very good reasons that we should always want men like these brought to trial.  Public trials.

Now Saddam Hussein will never be tried for genocide. And the evidence against him will remain, forever, a "classified" secret.

There are very good reasons that we should always want men like these brought to trial.  Here's one:  Saddam Hussein is, by law – a law we are all bound to respect – innocent of genocide.  

Forever.