Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Try, Try, Try Again

Saddam Hussein is to be tried for genocide.


There are always questions about the international criminal trials of really big blokes like Saddam, but I have a philosophy on these things which, to be honest, not many people share.

We aim for justice and retribution against the Uncle Slobodans of the world. However, the crimes of these men are SO over the top that, even if we pull their toenails out before running them over with a bus, no amount of retribution can really make them pay for the crimes they committed. On that assumption, I don’t think it matters if they die in custody, like Milosevic, after an incredibly lengthy, stressful trial for the defendant.

I don’t think we, the world, or the victims, get justice when we pick a specific offence, try Hussein, and gas him to death. I don’t even think it is worth gassing him in the first place. I think justice comes by perception in the community. In this respect, I see no problem with hanging out every piece of dirty laundry, every parking ticket and smack of a slave that Hussein carried out.

Try him for genocide, even if it costs $100,000,000 and takes ten years. Bring out all the evidence. Tell the world exactly what happened, when, where, why and how. That way, no part of these animals’ crimes remains off the public record. That is the only way, in big criminal trials, we will ever get justice.

I do place a rather large caveat on this philosophy. Where a victim, or a community of victims do not wish to relive the events which led to the crimes committed and charges laid, we have no right to intervene. They are the ones who, if they say it is too much, or that giving evidence is too traumatic, should be listened to.

Otherwise, don’t pick a few offences, convict Saddam and shoot him. What is the point? Better I say to ensure for posterity that nothing escapes the record. No matter how long it takes or how much it costs.


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