Now that a high court in Iraq has upheld the death sentence of former dictator Saddam Hussein, Aref Shahin, chief judge of the appeals court, says the sentence "must be implemented within thirty days."
Ali al-Adeeb, a Shiite member of parliament, told a reporter, "We look forward to this day so as to achieve justice, though it comes late." The Iraqi government, he says, "should speed up implementing the verdict in order not to give any chance to the terrorists." According to news reports, Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni who serves as Iraq's vice-president, agrees with the court's decision.
In November, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity for the execution of one-hundred-forty-eight men and boys from the Shiite town of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt in 1982. The defendants were also accused of what the court called "widespread and systematic" persecution of the town's inhabitants in the years that followed.
During the trial of Saddam Hussein, the court heard evidence from one-hundred-thirty witnesses. "The man who once struck fear in the hearts of Iraqis," says President George W. Bush, "had to listen to free Iraqis recount the acts of torture and murder that he ordered against their families and against them":
"It's a major achievement for Iraq's young democracy, and its constitutional government.... Iraq has a lot of work ahead as it builds its society that delivers equal justice and protects all of its citizens."
Saddam Hussein has received the due process and legal rights that he denied to the Iraqi people. The victims of Saddam Hussein's regime, says President Bush, "have received a measure of the justice which many thought would never come."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.