Bush Says Death Penalty Appropriate for Saddam

Changing course from yesterday, President Bush now says Saddam deserves the "ultimate penalty" --death. We disagree. It's one of the reasons--the others being shortcomings in newly established the Iraqi Governing Council--that we prefer Saddam be tried in an International Criminal Tribunal, such as the one in Sierra Leone which combines local and global justice.

That's what we said on Hannity and Colmes tonight--in addition to panning torture for Saddam. Looks like the New York Times agrees with us, here's their editorial for Wednesday, Trying Saddam Hussein:

The Bush administration rightly endorses openness, Iraqi participation and international legal norms, but it has expressed a preference for a trial conducted by Iraqis. It should instead support an internationally sanctioned tribunal based on the model of the one in Sierra Leone, which uses a mix of local and international jurists.

We said it first! We'll post our comments when the transcript comes out tomorrow. Actually, we can't take all the credit, we got the idea here.

An internationally led tribunal would be a far better option, whether a fully international tribunalor, more likely, an internationally run tribunal with significant domestic participation, such as the special court set up for Sierra Leone. Because its personnel would be selected by the United Nations rather than by Washington's surrogates, an internationally led tribunal is more likely to be seen as legitimate. And because it can draw from a global pool of talent, it would be better able to secure the experienced and fair-minded jurists than a court that must look only to Iraqis. An internationally led tribunal could still conduct trials in Baghdad and involve Iraqis as much as possible, but it would be run by international jurists with proven records of overseeing complex prosecutions and scrupulously respecting international fair-trial standards.

Update: Death penalty for Saddam has critics.

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