To the Victor Goes the Verdict

Because the rule of law is indifferent to identity, even the loathsome deserve a fair trial. Curtis Doebbler, a member of Saddam Hussein's defense team, explains why the Hussein verdict and death sentence is "a classic instance of 'victor's injustice' imposed on the heels of the illegal US invasion of Iraq."

All exculpating evidence was withheld from the defense; defense witnesses were threatened by court officials; defense lawyers were assaulted by US officials; and the defendants we not given the charges against them until eight months after the prosecution had started presenting evidence and the day the defense was required to start its case. The list of violations is long and undoubtedly the reason why every independent expert has found the trial unfair.

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    Damned with faint praise (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Sailor on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 10:18:31 AM EST
    It's still a far better court system than the kind Saddam used against  his enemies.
    Everyone deserves a fair trial.

    but it wasn't timed to influence the elections? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 10:18:55 AM EST
    Thing is, all that was announced yesterday was the sentence - death by hanging.

    Turns out, they haven't finished writing the verdict (in legalese, one might call it "findings of fact and conclusions of law"). That - the reasoning behind the verdict - won't be done until Thursday at the earliest.

    Welcome to Wonderland - Sentence first, trial later.

    Even if every word of this is true (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by swingvote on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 09:48:02 AM EST
    It's still a far better court system than the kind Saddam used against  his enemies.

    We know what Saddam was really like. We know he used poison gas on thousands of people. We  know he started at least  two wars, one of which the U.S. stupidly supported  him in.

    This whole prosecution for something that took place 24 years ago is like busting Al Capone on tax evasion charges, but it's still better than letting him walk away.

    far better court system than the kind Saddam use (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 10:18:09 AM EST
    defense lawyers were assaulted by US officials

    Not quite as corrupt as Saddam is the lamest and most self-disrepecting justification there is.

    Is that how you measure the value of the invasion? By saying American justice is incrementally better than Saddams?


    WHAT?! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:16:44 AM EST
    I don't think that is a valid comparison.

    1. Saddam was not tried for tax evasion. He was tried for crimes against humanity.
    2. Not being able to gather sufficient evidence to try Al Capone for bootlegging or murder or any of the crimes in between- for which he was actually "wanted for"- the Fed's looked for a crime, he committed,  they could try him for. Here, Saddam actually was tried for the crimes he was "wanted for" and they did not go looking for a crime that had very little to do for why he was wanted.  I've never been impressed with this Capone defense anyway. The fact is among other crimes, Capone did evade income taxes and that is a serious crime, even if it isn't murder. It is not the equivalent of jay walking as often presented.
    3. To the best of my knowledge and belief, we didn't withhold any information Capone was entitled to and asked for (though I concede the standards were different in Capone's day). Here the prosecution did just that.

    The whole idea of war crimes prosecution stems from Nuremburg. Justice Jackson operated on the idea we are trying the Nazi's for starting an offensive war as well as for crimes committed in its prosecution, and notmerely for losing the war. He worked hard to keep it from being mere "victor's justice". This does not appear to be the case here.

    What you really want. (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:31:57 AM EST
    The really laughable thing about scribe's, Molly's et al complaint is that no one is denying his guilt, the complaint is the process.

    Now, can anyone deny that it is the Itaqi's process? No. And isn't that what you want? Self-detemination?

    Somehow I think that what you really want is whatever you feel would not help the US in this process.

    If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.

    Why I am I not surpised? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:47:32 AM EST
    It appears you'd rather have the US descend to Saddams level. You obviously don't feel that the US holding itself to the standard of justice its founders envisioned would helpful.

    Why and how?? (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:32:11 PM EST
    edger - Are you claiming that his trial has rached an improper verdict?

    Are you claiming that it was not fair?

    If so, why and how?


    As to the fairness of the trial PPJ... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:40:17 PM EST
    ...did you even bother to read the articles before sharing your wisdom with us?

    Had it been a FAIR trial before NEUTRAL magistrates, such as at the Hague, the verdict would be much more credible.

    After all, they had to change judges at least twice because of some imagined bias for Saddam, so, yeah, when shenigans like this are pulled it DOES impugn the credibility of the entire endeavor.

    Now if they can only execute him in time to prevent him from revealing that rumsfeld and the U.S. were complicit in gassing his people by supplying the material to construct those terrible weapons, well, that WOULD save America much embarrassment.


    No I don't and I am surprised you do (none / 0) (#10)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:52:33 AM EST
    Did you approve of Soviet show trials? I didn't. Somehow I suspect you denounced those trials back in the day. Why you would approve of show trials today is beyond me. Its intelluctually inconsistent.

    My position is consistent. I belief in a system of justice where the process is fair. In fact, you cannot have justice if the process isn't fair. That idea has been a cornerstone of our system for over 200 years. I gather you don't approve. What do you have against Amercan values? Its been frequently observed that law and order conservatives are more about order and less concerned about law

    Moreover, you don't seem to understand the implications for our foreign policy and in the end our national security the effect of show trials. As a national security voter, I would think this would be of concern for you.


    Why and how? (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:33:31 PM EST
    Molly -  Are you claiming that his trial has rached an improper verdict?

    Are you claiming that it was not fair?

    If so, why and how?

    You have a "claim" Molly, let's see some facts.


    WHY AND HOW? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:46:06 PM EST
    PPJ -  Are you claiming that his trial has rached a proper verdict?

    Are you claiming that it was fair?

    If so, why and how?

    You have a "claim" PPJ, let's see some facts.

    (Molly, you'll learn soon enough that PPJ either doesn't know how to use a search engine or is too lazy to or is so ill-informed that he requests facts well-established in the public domain to be "proven" to him.)


    My claim is that justice (none / 0) (#30)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 03:31:12 PM EST
    requires a fair process to reach a just result. This has been a cornerstone of the US justice system. Do you oppose this quaint notion?

    fairness, or the lack thereof (none / 0) (#28)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 01:40:35 PM EST
    I haven't commented on the lack of fairness or evenhandedness (like, for example, Sadaam not getting to know what the charges were until, oh, the day before he was supposed to start presenting his defense case) for one simple reason:
    With the crowd currently occupying the offices in the US government, there was never any chance this trial could or would be more than a pre-rigged show trial, with a pre-ordained result.  Even down to the timing of the sentence, though not the verdict.

    This is "victor's justice" in perhaps the purest expression anyone now living has seen.

    So, why should I have wasted my time, or typing, on that issue?


    I'm still betting that, somehow, Sadaam comes out of this on top.  Like, being the one most likely to calm things down and turning into the revered, benevolent patriarch who brings peace to Iraq.

    In the current world, it's not too weird to be credible.

    And, changing topics, Jim, if like you complained about earlier you're getting nailed with Repug false-flag robocalls during inopportune times (like the Colts' game), it means the Repugs have identified you as a Dem, or likely to vote Dem.  You're dodging coming clean on that - time to 'fess up.


    the facts are (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 05:00:42 PM EST
    scribe - Alas I no longer have an NFL team to enhance my bread and circus Sundays...I am an ex-pat Denver dude

    And your inability to read and/or understand remains poor. I stated that the calls were from DEMOS..

    The facts are that Sadam killed hundreds of thousands of which there is absolutely NO doubt. He was allowed to prance and posture on the world stage for way, way too long.

    My preference would have been a hand grenade in his hole in the ground followed by some shovel work.

    But hey, all I want to do is win this thing and get home. You guys just want to beat up on Bush.


    So... (none / 0) (#7)
    by jarober on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:33:16 AM EST
    Were the Nuremburg trials "victor'a justice" as well?  Whatever you think of the war, Hussein is an odious, evil man.  Your posts now demonstrate that you've fallen off from reasonable opposition to automated gainsaying.

    Meanwhile (none / 0) (#9)
    by aw on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:50:26 AM EST
    Bush serves as judge, jury, jailer, and perhaps executioner when it comes to terrorist suspects who may or may not be innocent.  This is a better system?

    Really?? (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:35:06 PM EST
    So you are claiming that the Iraqis would have let him go if the evillllllll Bush had not rail roaded him?

    Really aw??


    This has to be the most illogical and funny... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:56:55 PM EST
    ...question I have ever seen asked.

    Paraphrasing: "If bush hadn't rail roaded (sic) him...",this clear implication and common sense would dictate that anyone who was "railroaded" perforce did not receive a fair trial.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! THAT'S a good one, PPJ.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#27)
    by aw on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 01:23:55 PM EST
    How do you get to that point, PPJ?  I have no idea what you're talking about.

    I was talking about Bush's extra legal system where US and international law don't intrude. There's no fair trials there, either.

    Where did I say that anyone who receives a fair trial means they are let go?  Really, PPJ?


    148 or 300,000 (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:58:50 AM EST
    So we accuse him of killing 300,000 and he is sentenced for the murder of 148.  

    NO WMD, no 300,000.  I am starting to see a pattern here.  He was a vicious dictator from what I read, but it sounds as if he was not a genocidist.

    So which is Main Stream Media?  Did he kill 148 and Iraq does not care about trying him for 299,952 of them, or is the number 300,000 slightly inflated by 275,000?

    Instead, we get "Saddam would not stand for sentencing" or "Saddam angry at sentencing" etc.  

    This country is spoon fed propaganda by its gov't on a daily basis, far worse than Cuba yet we love to talk about freedom of the press.

    We might have a free press if of course you believe that a free press would consistently take the gov'ts word for atrocities against human kind and print it verbatim.

    I am glad I get the BBC, if it weren't for foreign news, I would think everything was gravy.

    We cannot allow him to be tried for gassing... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:15:24 PM EST
    ...his own people, as it was the U.S. which sold him all the materials needed to produce the gas that was used to such deadly effect. Saddam had ALREADY killed those 148 people (in 1982) when rumsfeld went to meet and deal with Saddam in 1983, so there can be no excuse that we didn't know precisely with whom we were dealing.

    Saddam, very much like bin Laden, was a creation of the United States, supported by us, given weapons, chemicals, and the means to create weapons of mass destruction because he was acting as a firewall to Iran.

    Isn't it amazing how many tyrants, despots, and dictators were created/installed/given power by American administrations?

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap.


    As if (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 11:58:55 AM EST

    As if there were any doubt of Saddam's guilt.  The absolute worst thing you can say about the outcome is that he might hang for the wrong crime.  Big deal.  

    Hello? Are these on? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:05:21 PM EST

    What is worse: one odious, evil man or an odious, evil ignorance that drives "the greatest nation on earth" to turn Iraq into a bigger, bloodier, more chaotic and murderous mess than one evil man ever could?


    And OF COURSE the complaint is the process:  the process IS freedom, IS democracy.  This is the reason everyone is legally entitled to a fair trial whether they morally deserve it or not.  It is a tough thing on the intellect, on the often vengeful minds we all possess, but freedom ain't easy.  It requires more of us.  

    Was the evidence wrong?? (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:37:42 PM EST
    So, was the evidence wrong?

    Was Saddam's defense team not allowed to produce evidence of his innocence?

    The answer, of course, is no and no, so what we have is a complaint about Bush.


    WAS THE EVIDENCE RIGHT? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:49:02 PM EST
    So, was the evidence right?

    Was Saddam's defense team allowed to produce evidence of his innocence?

    The answer, of course, is no and no, so what we have is a complaint about Bush.

    Yer right.


    Troubling if true. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Gabriel Malor on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:10:14 PM EST
    For obvious reasons Saddam Hussein should be one of the easiest convictions in the history of criminal justice--not too far behind Hitler and Stalin. The fact (if true, I mean) that so many shenanigans took place to convict him is deeply troubling.

    Moreover, the comparison to Nuremberg above is way off base. Justice Jackson took great pains to see to the fairness of that trial (here I am quoting him again, jeez):

    We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our lips as well.

    geez............................. (none / 0) (#16)
    by cpinva on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:16:28 PM EST
    jim, without "the process" there is no justice, in the eyes of the iraqis and the world. the process must be transparent and fair, in both fact and appearance. if not, they should have just taken him out and shot him, as soon as they found him, it would have amounted to the same thing.

    if these guys have any brains at all, his sentence will be commuted to life in prison. no need to make a martyr out of him. the same thing was done at the nuremburg trials, with no ill effects.

    frankly, given the charges, he should have been tried at the world court, not in iraq.

    Fair trials work (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilybart on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 12:40:01 PM EST
    Why does anyone think there wasn't enough evidence to convict Saddam of many crimes? There is no reason he could not have had a fair trial, using the system of rights and evidence that we use.

    And it would have been a powerful testament to our committment to democracy in IRaq, is there really IS such a committment, to have a trial using rules we should be insisting go into their constitution.

    Voting is NOT democracy. Transparancy in governement, equal justice for all under the LAW, not men,  and clean police and fair trails with the same rules for all...that leads to  democratic societies.

    Of course there was sufficient evidence... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 01:06:13 PM EST
    ...that, had it been introcuced in a fair trial, would have been sufficient to covict Saddam.

    But when there is the appearance of unfairness and inequity it forever taints the results.

    Witness the use of the term "rail roaded" above. THAT will be the world's impression of this verdict, and it does a disservice to democracies everywhere when a despot like bush can command the outcome of the trial of a fellow despot.

    Meanwhile, back in America, the world knows Saddam would not have received ANY kind of trial, much less a fair trial, and that he would have been relentlessly tortured while held in an illegal black prison or Gitmo. So in a sense, Iraq is now a more fair country than America. Makes ya proud, eh?

    Nice job, mr. boosh.


    The question we should be asking (none / 0) (#29)
    by Officious Pedant on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 02:02:18 PM EST
    is, given the sheer volume of evidence arrayed against Hussein, why wouldn't we let him make whatever case he wanted? Offer any evidence he wanted, and be defended by a prepared team in front of the whole world?

    The trial needed to be neat, and quick, and conclusive, but not fair. And, as the liberators of Iraq, couldn't we afford to be fair? Unless fair might have shined some light in corners that would have embarrased some powerful people.

    No one will miss Hussein (except maybe some people in Tikrit), but this trial will reach epic proportions when the mythos of his fair trial gets spun to mythic heights by political rhetoric. People will start to wonder as the "hmmm...I wonder why they did that" questions start to bubble up.

    100% guilty (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 04:23:15 PM EST
    "Couldn't be an easier trial in history"

    "Of course he is guilty"

    "He was responsible for the killing of several hundred thousand Iraqis"

    Saddam?  In America perhaps.

    In most of Europe and the Middle East, they are referring to the leaders of our gov't.  Guess your view of guilt and innocence depends on where you live and what type of news you receive.

    Here in America, the world is wrong and we are right.  Problem is, the world sees things differently......