Trouble for Saddam's ReganBooks Deal


On first blush, this sounds like easily pigeonholded Human Rights Watch nuttery. On another look, it sounds basically correct, doesn't it?

The trial of Saddam Hussein was so flawed that its verdict is unsound, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch says.

The former Iraqi leader was sentenced to death on 5 November after being convicted of crimes against humanity.

But HRW said it had documented "serious administrative, procedural and substantive legal defects" that meant he did not get a fair trial.

Some of that documentation:

Proceedings were marked by frequent outbursts by both judges and defendants.

Three defence lawyers were murdered, three judges left the five-member panel and the original chief judge was replaced.

Defence lawyers boycotted proceedings but HRW said court-appointed counsel that took their place lacked adequate training in international law.

In addition, important documents were not given to defence lawyers in advance, no written transcript was kept and paperwork was lost, said HRW.

The defence was also prevented from cross-examining witnesses and the judges made asides that pre-judged Saddam Hussein.

The trial was obviously a farce; it's being taken seriously in this country the same way a Ravens win that happens when the other team contracts diarrhea in the third quarter is still good enough for Ravens fans. We needed a win, damn it, and now we got one. The problem; since the unsuing trial played like a rejected episode of Night Court, the Arab world didn't take it very seriously at all.