Trial Disrupted By Assasinations

On Nov. 8, gunmen ambushed two more defense lawyers involved in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein and his assistants. One defense lawyer was killed, making this the second killing of a defense lawyer in less than three weeks.

After the murder of Sadoun Nasouaf al-Janavi, counsel to defendant Awad al-Bander, three weeks ago, the Iraqi government and the U.S. military each offered to provide security for the defense counsel. The defense lawyers declined, saying that they do not trust the Iraqi government nor the U.S. military.

One cannot help but wonder if this is merely a ploy by defense lawyers to stall for time. Perhaps the judges will end up dealing with this problem by requiring the defense counsel to accept U.S. military protection.

If the defense lawyers continue to refuse protection and boycott the trial, the judges may tell them that as duly appointed defense counsel, they are officers of the court and have a responsibility to accept the security and continue to participate in the trial. Otherwise, these defense lawyers are likely to face sanctions such as fines, imprisonment and dismissal, and they could easily be replaced by a court-appointed defense counsel who will not play these kinds of high-risk games in an effort to disrupt the proceedings.

The main reason for this trial is to show that law should have the final say and, therefore, present a ‘democratic’ example for the Iraqi people.

The outcome of this trial is clear. Because Saddam’s crimes are on a mass scale, this dictator is on the same level as Stalin and Hitler. Although humanity didn’t have the chance to put these two in court, we have managed to bring this dictator in front of a court.

It is far too easy to be supportive of justice when it wasn’t your own son’s or daughter’s throat that was cut in cold blood.

Why do activists always support the attacker and not consider the victims whose lives have been destroyed? After all, it is highly doubtful that Saddam’s victims had their right to justice.

However, it’s important that Hussein is judged according to Iraqi law. Anything else would be contrary to the values supposedly proposed by the newly formed Iraqi government.

The trial must be perceived to be both fair and impartial, if the average Iraqi citizen is going to believe the new government and constitution will protect them and establish a better Iraq.

No matter what kind of government is eventually put in place, the citizens of Iraq must support their form of government or it will not stand.

Reut R. Cohen is a second-year English major.