Saddam Hussein could be executed after his first trial if he is convicted and sentenced to death for his alleged role in a 1982 Shiite massacre, even though he faces other charges, an official close to the proceedings said Thursday.
The first trial, which involves the deposed Iraqi ruler’s alleged role in the 1982 massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, north of Baghdad, is expected to begin by the fall, said the official. He briefed reporters on condition that his name would not be used for reasons of security and the sensitivity of the case.
Saddam’s daughter, meanwhile, has threatened that the ousted leader’s defense lawyer could boycott the trial — and preliminary questioning — unless the defense gets better access to Saddam. The defense has complained in the past that it has only been allowed to meet Sadddam with U.S. or Iraqi military officials watching.
Iraqi authorities also are building about a dozen other cases against Saddam that they intend to try separately. Those cases include the killing of rival politicians over 30 years, the 1987-88 Anfal campaign that left tens of thousands of Kurds dead or displaced and the crushing of a 1991 uprising by Shiites following the Gulf War.
If Saddam is sentenced to death in the Dujail case, authorities could “theoretically” carry out the sentence without waiting for the other trials to begin, the official said.
“If the sentence were to be the death penalty, I think that the court will have to make a decision based on international principles, Iraqi law, whether or not there is need for him in another case for the prosecution or another defendant,” the official said.
While the salutary effects of immediately executing this thug are hard to ignore, and I am similarly thrilled by anything that will upset moral piker Ramsey Clark, I am not sure how I feel about this.
Seems to me the best approach would be to have a full hearing, sans controversy. This will be a test case for the new Iraqi government, and it is best they start correctly.