Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Trial of Saddam Hussein

Procedural Flaws Leave Us Asking, Was He Given a Fair Trial?

By Michael DeRuve
Michael DeRuve is a 2017 cum laude graduate of Albany Law School. In 2014, he graduated from Hartwick College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management.

While at Albany Law, Michael was a member of the Albany Law Review and President of Albany Law’s Criminal Law Society from 2015 to 2016. He was also active in the moot court program, competing in both inter school and regional trial competitions, and finishing as a semi-finalist in Albany Law School’s Karen C. McGovern Senior Prize Trial Competition.

Michael interned at the Schenectady District Attorney’s Office and at LaMarche Safranko Law, a firm which focuses on criminal defense and personal injury. Currently, he is a Junior Associate at Phillips and Paolicelli, LLP, where he focuses primarily on mass torts, birth defects, environmental toxic torts, and medical malpractice litigation. 

Michael prepared this paper for Professor Bonventre's International law of War and Crime seminar.

After the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the world awaited to see how Iraq and foreign governments would handle his fate. In response, the Iraqi High Tribunal (“IHT”) was created in order to try persons who had violated international crimes–such as crimes against humanity and war crimes–between 1968, the year the Ba’ath Party took power of Iraq, and 2003, when Saddam Hussein was captured. This tribunal was particularly important because it was the first time since the Nuremburg trials–international trials in which Nazis were tried for crimes committed during World War II–that entire senior officials of a long-lived government faced trial for human rights violations.

On October 19, 2005, the IHT held its first trial, where Saddam Hussein and seven other defendants were tried for their alleged participation in the Dujail Massacre of 1982. There, 140 people were killed, while another 800 were detained by the government in response to a failed assassination attempt on the then-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. The trial lasted roughly thirteen months and Saddam Hussein was subsequently found guilty of crimes against humanity for his involvement in the massacre. On November 5, 2006, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging. On December 30, 2006, after losing his appeal, he was executed.

But this trial did not come without flaws. In fact, the Human Rights Watch, along with many others, felt actions taken by the court were prejudicial against the defendants and were overall unfair by international standards.
To read the entire paper, open HERE.