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The State's Bar Must Always Be Higher


Mick Hall • 6 December 2006

A great deal of nonsense has been said and written since the death sentence was pronounced on Saddam Hussein in Bagdad, on Monday November 6th (2006). As was expected, US President G W Bush and his European gofer Tony Blair have both argued that the sentence has little to do with them, which is hardly a surprise as these two men seem to have an inability to take responsibility for anything that does not work out as their spin doctors predicted. On Saddam being sentenced to hang both men feebly proclaimed that the sentence was the will of the Iraqi people, and should be welcomed as it proves the rule of law now runs within Iraq.

Which is just about the stupidest statement in a long line of nonsensical bleating that these two men have offered up to their electorate on Iraq. The fact is the current Iraqi Government and those who hold senior positions in its failed institutions, along with their masters in the US Embassy in Iraq, are unable to venture out of the comfort and protection of the heavily defended Bagdad Green Zone without the protection of US armored cars, tanks and Apache helicopters, let alone provide an iota of law and order for the unfortunate Iraqi people.

The court that sentenced Saddam, a creation of the US forces of occupation, was also situated in the Green Zone; the judges and prosecution lawyers were schooled and appointed by the said same US forces of occupation. The judge was changed half way through the trial — presumably because the forces of occupation sensed he was being too correct with the defendants in the dock — and three of Saddam's and his fellow defendants defense attorneys were murdered for good measure during the course of the trial. In other words, this tribunal amounted to little more than victor's justice, although with the current incendiary situation in Iraq it may be a little premature to call the USA and those who do their bidding in Iraq the victors.

Due to the justifiably ghastly and murderous reputation of Saddam Hussein government when he held power in Iraq, few people who normally argue against judicial murder are willing to speak out against the death sentence passed on the old butcher. This is perhaps understandable, but it is a mistake. When we are against Capital Punishment, we do not cherry pick those we give our support to, nor should we turn a blind eye to those who are for the drop that we find reprehensible as individuals or politicians.

If we are against Capital punishment, then that is it, we oppose it no matter who is to be executed, or whatever State wishes to implement such a cruel and inhumane punishment. We should therefore oppose vigorously the death sentence that Saddam now faces, as his trial was both a sham and as I have aforementioned, yet another example of victor's justice. Not even the most dim witted Neo-Conservative or craven Blairite could truthfully claim the rule of law exists in today's Iraq.

My own opposition to this particular judicial murder has little to do with Saddam and all to do with restricting the right of the State, any State, to take human life. If Saddam was given a life sentence without parole, he might just, for the first time in his life have done something useful for human kind and his people. If he is executed, it will not be long before the US sponsored Iraqi State authorities justifies further judicial murders by claiming, if we executed a former President, who is an ordinary decent criminal to complain?

Unlike in the United States, British law is firmly set against the judicial death penalty and when overseas, the UK's armed forces still supposedly come under the said same law. As there is little doubt that British troops who have been stationed in Iraq played a minor part in Saddam's current predicament, this once again highlights the fact, and not for the first time on Iraq, that the Blair government, by acquiescing in this sentence, have acted in a manner which would be illegal at home.

All those who oppose capital punishment should also vigorously argue against the death sentence passed upon Saddam from being implemented. If we do not, who will? Capital punishment is wrong in its entirety; the State and those who administer it are far from infallible, as is demonstrated almost daily. Whilst those who administer the law can perhaps be forgiven for making genuine mistakes, as when this occurs in a nation where the death sentence is not an option the means to correct such judicial errors are at least available.

However when capital punishment is on the statute book, and the judiciary make a decision in the clear light of day to execute a citizen, it is a decision which if implemented and found to be wanting can never be corrected. To do the aforementioned is to give the State a wisdom it simply does not possess.

There is also the example the State should set for its citizens. This is why we view corruption within the State machine with such distaste. For if the State is corrupt, why should we not all have our hand in the till? Thus, it is imperative where the taking of human life is concerned, that the State acts in a manner which is far above that set by its worst of citizens.

There are wider political questions to be raised here. Why was Saddam Hussein not sent to be tried at the International Court at the Hague, as indeed his fellow satrap, the former Serbian President Milosevic was? Or sent to the international court set up by the UN in Arusha, Tanzania, where many of those who allegedly committed Genocide in Rwanda are currently being tried?

One of the main reasons why the international community felt it was necessary to establish these institutions was because they concluded that due to the tragic events that the people of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda experienced, it would be a nigh on impossibility for any Court within their jurisdictions to impartially try crimes against humanity. Few would suggest that the Iraqi people have not passed through a similar maelstrom as to that which the peoples of Yugoslavia and Rwanda experienced, so surely the same criteria should apply to Iraqi citizens who are accused of committing crimes against humanity, if justice is to be seen to be done.

One cannot but also feel that the US administration's decision not to put Saddam Hussein before an international court had a great deal to do with its wish to keep control of his fate, hence my mention of victor's justice. If they had sent Saddam to the Hague, uncomfortable questions about the legality of the US/UK invasion of Iraq would undoubtedly have been raised during the course of any trial.

For the US to have sent Saddam to the Hague may also have highlighted the current US administration's of GW Bush's failure to fully recognize the international court; to this day its troops serving in Iraq do not come under Iraqi or indeed international law. Thus if they commit any crimes or atrocities within Iraq, as they undoubtedly have, they cannot be sent before the International Court, nor, incidentally, could George W Bush, at some later date, be sent before the court for waging an illegal and unjust war — which perhaps explains why he was so keen to back track on Bill Clinton's decision to recognize and help finance the court at the Hague.








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Index: Current Articles

12 December 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Chile: The death of a Murderer
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35 Years of Silence
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Perpetual opposition haunts DUP
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Sucking Up to Sinn Fein
Dr John Coulter

Circling the Wagons
Anthony McIntyre

Spin Cycle
Carrie Twomey

The Hypocrisy is Pathetic
Seamus Kearney

'Provo leaders should wake up to the truth'
Carrie Twomey

Prison Protest Held in Newry
Republican Prisoners' Action Group (RPAG)

Get It Together
Dr John Coulter

The Liar is Dead. Long Live the Liar
Anthony McIntyre

Throw Away the Key
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The State's Bar Must Always Be Higher
Mick Hall

Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam
M. Shahid Alam

Mental Madness
Dr John Coulter

3 December 2006

Forensic Framework Unravels
Martin Galvin

RUC Killing of Irish-American To Become Issue in New Congress
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F's All Around
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Loose Ends
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The People of No Principle
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Policing, a Bridge Too Far for Republicans?
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Conway Mill Debate
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Not Too Late for a United Front
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Afraid of the Voice of the People
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Ideals Live On
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Ray McAreavey

Poetry in Motion
Lord Falls

Michael Pebble
Anthony McIntyre

Action Required to Stop Bullies
Dr John Coulter

O'Shea is Right on Aid Policy
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Ministerial Own Goal
Anthony McIntyre

‘Beyond the Veil: Perspectives on Muslim Women in a Western Secular Context’
Maryam Namazie



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