The Ultimate Justice Show

Michael Byers

‘He is a torturer, a murderer, and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.’ With those words, spoken during a television interview on 16 December, the President of the United States tried, convicted and sentenced the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Ostensibly, a proper trial will take place in an Iraqi court established specifically for senior members of Saddam’s regime; the creation of the court was announced by the Iraqi Governing Council just three days before Saddam’s capture. But the Council is itself a creation of the US and heavily beholden to it: its members were handpicked by President Bush’s special envoy, Paul Bremer, and they remain entirely dependent on the occupying authority for resources, security and what little power they hold. For the most part, the Council’s members suffered horribly under Saddam’s regime, or were forced into exile: such is their animus towards the former dictator that four of them demanded – and were granted – the right to confront him shortly after his arrest. And many of them will wish to retain influence after the elections planned for June 2004, in a country still brimming with hatred for the former regime. In these circumstances, there is no reason to expect them to create a court or appoint judges that could conceivably rule in Saddam’s favour.

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