Magazine article The Spectator

Saddam's 'Parody' of a Trial

Magazine article The Spectator

Saddam's 'Parody' of a Trial

Article excerpt

From Sir Jonah Walker-Smith Sir: When I read the title to Alasdair Palmer's article, 'Saddam's trial shouldn't be fair' (11 November), I assumed that it was written with tongue in cheek. By the time I reached the penultimate sentence -- 'the trials of genocidal killers are not, and should never be, fair' -- I realised, to my surprise, that he was in earnest.

Doubtless Saddam Hussein is as guilty as sin of the crime with which he has been charged and convicted. So was Milosevic. So was Goering. But Milosevic and Goering received fair trials. Saddam did not.

Alasdair Palmer understates the case when he writes that Saddam's trial has 'certainly not been a paradigm of fairness'. The fact that the Iraqi government removed one of the judges mid-trial because they perceived him to be 'biased' in favour of Saddam is about as blatant a negation of fairness as one can imagine.

Mr Palmer appears to be saying that this really does not matter. With respect, it matters a great deal. …

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