Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Try Saddam Locally, But By International Tribunal

The arguments for trying Saddam by international tribunal are too good to deny. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, Saddam should be tried by the world, but the only suitable location, barring total catastrophe, should be Iraq. In fact, Iraqi citizens should be allowed lead council positions on the matter.

Reviewing the pre-war posturing, the proper course today seems simple. Since we made the case that war against Saddam would be a just course because he violated whatever UN Resolutions, though the UN did not agree and we went to war without their approval, this does not remove the fact that our justifications for the use of force were oriented towards Saddam's violation of international law and UN resolutions.

With this in mind, it would be clearly against international law and established UN Resolutions, not to mention hypocritical in light of our stance in justifying our case, to have gone to war with Iraq solely for regime change. We made a case that Saddam had violated the UN Resolutions, and, whether anyone agreed with us or not, went ahead and forcibly removed him. Independent of the UN process, "liberating the Iraqi people" was a means to win over the hearts and minds of the people of the world behind the effort, not a legal justification.

Therefore, we should remain true to our case, to our stated justification, consistent with our claims of law and justice (rather than our war marketing effort), and assure that Saddam is tried not only for his crimes against Iraq, which would be only fair to the Iraqi people, but for the crimes by which we justified our war to remove him.

This can only be done by international tribunal.