Well, probably. But we may never know for sure because he was not accorded the scrupulous safeguards that the Iraqis are entitled to in their justice system. And of course, it is not theirs, anyway. That’s just the fiction the occupation has put on the whole quisling structure they’ve established in
In an uncharacteristically sensible opinion, considering the auspices under which it was carried out, Leandro Despouy, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers ‘voiced “strong objections” regarding the conduct of the trial’, as reported on the UN website.
Despouy cogently observes,
The tribunal has been established during an occupation considered by many as illegal, is composed of judges who have been selected during this occupation, including non Iraqi citizens, and has been mainly financed by the United States.
…lack of observance of a legal framework that conforms to international human rights principles and standards, in particular the right to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal which upholds the right to a defence… risks being seen as the expression of the verdict of the winners over the losers…Since its beginning one of the judges, five candidate judges, three defence lawyers and an employee of the tribunal have been killed.
Furthermore, the body had no mandate to address “the war crimes committed by foreign troops during the first Gulf war (1990), nor the war crimes committed after 1 May 2003, date of the beginning of the occupation.”
He also discouraged Saddam’s execution which would be an open contradiction to the growing international tendency to abolish capital punishment.
Perhaps more importantly, it lets Saddam’s main backers entirely off the hook, as Robert Fisk chronicled in yesterday’s CounterPunch, citing US and British supply of a range of biological and chemical agents that they were perfectly well aware were being used against the Iranian conscripts in the first Gulf War in the 1980s, as well as the Halabja massacre, which the US cynically tried to blame on Iran when Saddam was their buddy. Norman Solomon provides a list of compelling accusations specifically against US Secretary of ‘Defense’ Donald Rumsfeld.
Indeed, a really thorough investigation would have to go right back to the late Fifties and examine how the Ba’ath came to overthrow the Qassem government in the first place, and how Saddam rose to preeminence in that august institution. And it might even determine who needs to stand trial for the crimes against humanity of the UN sanctions regime, characterized by its administrators, Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, as ‘genocide’.
If Saddam doesn’t live to testify in all those trials and help bring his backers to justice, it will be, if possible, even more obvious that the principal function of this kangaroo court has been to protect the guilty.