Anorak News | Death Penalty Shoot-Out

Death Penalty Shoot-Out

by | 16th, December 2003

‘IT’S only just over 48 hours since Saddam Hussein was captured, but already questions are being asked about what is next for the former Iraqi dictator.

”And this is the State Banqueting Hall”

And chief among the issues to be worked out appears to be the question of whether he should face the death penalty.

The Times suggests Britain is caught in ”a widening transatlantic rift” over whether or not Saddam should be executed if found guilty at his forthcoming trial.

President Bush (who as governor of Texas executed more prisoners than the other 49 governors put together) unsurprisingly favours such a sentence.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Tony Blair’s envoy to Iraq, says Britain will take no part in a tribunal that could lead to the death penalty.

And, for all the Times tries to suggest that Britain is isolated on this issue, it appears that it is rather the US that is ploughing a lone furrow.

Without Britain’s support, the paper admits, the European Union, United Nations and international legal experts would also refuse to take part.

”The UN does not support the death penalty,” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said.

As for the trial itself, President Bush says he will work with the Iraqis ”to develop a way to try him that will stand international scrutiny”.

One option, says the Independent, is a Nuremberg-style trial, although it admits this might raise suggestions of ”victors’ justice”.

Another is something like the tribunal in the Hague, where former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic is on trial for war crimes.

But the most favoured course of action appears to be a public trial in Iraq, conducted by Iraqis – although at the moment Iraq does not have a legal system capable of handling such a trial.

Meanwhile, the Guardian is just one of what one suspects is hundreds of papers to try to get a closer look at Saddam’s last hiding place.

”It is the smallest of spaces and for a man of Saddam’s waistline and pitiful taste for huge oak-panelled doors and opulent ballrooms, it must have been a daily torture to squeeze down into the gap,” it says.

But up above in the farmhouse, we see more evidence of the fugitive’s life – a bar of Palmolive Soap, a tub of Saj moisturiser, three canisters of Pif Paf insect repellent, a box of Bounty chocolate, a stick of Lacoste deodorant and some Turkish Delight sweets.

And not a Quality Street or a bottle of HP sauce in sight.’

Posted: 16th, December 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink