Saddam Hussein’s reign was so brutal that most of Iraqis would probably applaud if he is sentenced to death. Yet, in spite of all his crimes, his trial – which opened last week only to be adjourned until November 28, has provoked widespread criticism from jurists and Human Rights groups. The trial is being held under American military occupation, which in itself raises serious questions about its legitimacy.
The U.S. in fact created the Tribunal, the FBI gathered the evidence, American lawyers chose and trained the magistrates and judges, the US Congress financed the process and the US Army has assumed responsibility for protecting the proceedings. Putting Saddam in the dock is not unjustified, but we are witnessing a political trial that could provide justification for an illegal invasion later. The trial should demonstrate that Saddam Hussein posed a danger to his own people and the world.
Other criticisms are: What is the hurry? Why judging on a separate basis his acts? If the trial is to end up in a death sentence, it should be applied then within 30 days. But there are many other problems that should be judged. This is a historical mistake that deprives the Iraqis from a fair trial that would illustrate the dictator’s links with the western power. The question of when the trial against the responsible of the invasion on Iraq will be held should also be raised.

Gulf News
Gulf News is the main newspaper devoted to the entire Persian Gulf . Circulation: more than 90,000 editions. Edited in Dubai in English, it is read largely by the important foreigner community residing in the region.

Is Saddam’s trial a mistake?”, by Patrick Seale, Gulf News, October 24, 2005.