A Trial in Shambles

Will the trial of Saddam Hussein ever be completed?

The court trying Saddam Hussein cancelled the resumption of his trial Tuesday, delaying the session for five days, after some judges opposed the appointment of a new chief judge in a last-minute shakeup.

The delay and judges’ dispute were the latest sign of disarray in the trial of the ousted Iraqi leader and his former regime officials, calling into question the fairness of what is meant to be a landmark step in
Iraq’s political progress.

The trial has already been marred by delays, assassinations and chaotic courtroom outbursts by Saddam.

The latest postponement came a day after a new chief judge was appointed following the resignation of his predecessor and another member of the five-judge panel was ousted.

After hours of waiting for Tuesday’s court session to begin, court official Raid Juhi told journalists that the court had decided to postpone the hearing until Sunday.

He said the delay was because some of the witnesses due to appear Tuesday had been unable to attend.

But two judges said the members of the panel hearing the case were arguing over the appointment of the new chief judge, Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman.

Some judges opposed the appointment, while others supported Abdel-Rahman, one of the two judges said. He said the arguments were still going on as the postponement of the session was announced.

The other judge appeared to complain about outside interference in the court. When asked what the problem was, he replied, “Matters are not in our hands.”

The question remains – can this trial be completed, in Iraq, or any middle eastern country? So far, all we’ve seen is fear and intimidation caused by Bathist sympathizers and other outside sources that have prevented justice from being served.

Iraqis must be willing to see this trial through, at all costs. If they fail, a credibility gap will hang over the country’s head like a black cloud, and that will be a win for Saddam.

Speak Your Mind