Wednesday, January 25, 2006

International community refuses to provide Saddam with a fair trial guarantees

It is theoretical question whether or not former dictators and war criminals deserve a fair trail in the countries where independent judiciary so far has been non-existent or to say the least non-efficient. However, in Iraq international community seemed to be decided to guarantee fair trail for Saddam Husein, however as situation right now shows it can not deliver its promise with his defence lawyers being killed almost every week.

Compliance with rule of law and human rights requires legal representation, and the lawyers involved in Saddam’s trial are not having an easy time. One investigative judge was murdered in the spring of 2005, two defence attorneys were murdered in the fall, and Iraqi officials announced earlier this month that Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammad Amin wants to resign. International organisation present in Iraq and Coalition of the Willing need to support those trying to re-establish the rule of law in Iraq. But rather than supporting the Iraqis working on Saddam’s trial, the international community has opted to stand by and watch. The murders past fall of two Iraqi High Court defence lawyers who had declined housing and protection in the international green Zone demonstrate that even Saddam’s lawyers are not immune to the violence inIraq. Some of the remaining defence counsel seemed reluctant to accept the green zone protection of the Iraqi and American authorities in Iraq. Instead they turned to the United Nations and asked the international community for support, including personal protection, but their requests were refused.

If the respective states of the international community really stands for justice and the rule of law, they should be working towards strengthening rule of law in Iraq, which includes also appropriate protection for Saddam’s defence lawyers.

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