The trial of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is expected to begin on October 19th. Saddam Hussein will be tried along with seven of his former aides, including Taha Yasseen Ramadan, Iraq's former vice president, Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, the Ba'ath party's intelligence chief, and Awad Ahmad al-Bandar, deputy chief of Saddam Hussein's cabinet. All will appear before the Iraqi Special Tribunal, an Iraqi court established to try former regime officials accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, according to international standards and due process.
Saddam Hussein and his aides are charged with the 1982 murder of one-hundred-fifty-eight residents of Dujail, a community located eighty kilometers north of Baghdad. The massacre reportedly took place after an assassination plot against Saddam Hussein was uncovered. Some fifteen-hundred others were sent to prison. Laith Kubba, an Iraqi government spokesman says, "With this trial, we want Iraq to turn a new leaf."
Saddam Hussein faces trial for twelve other crimes, including the 1988 chemical weapons attack that killed five-thousand Iraqi Kurds in the city of Halabja, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the brutal suppression of a Shi'ite rebellion that followed the Gulf War. Human Rights Watch, an independent monitoring group, estimates that over a period of two decades, Saddam Hussein's regime killed an estimated two-hundred-ninety-thousand Iraqis.
President George W. Bush says that "the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions":
"In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived."
Now, Saddam Hussein will answer for the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people and against Iraq's neighbors. President Bush says Iraq's "will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein again."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.