[Marxism] The Execution of the President

Tony Lawless lifesunquietdream at msn.com
Sat Dec 30 05:46:49 MST 2006


The execution of the President
Statement by Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Ian Douglas, Hana Albayaty, Dirk 
Adriaensens, Inge Van De Merlen
December 30, 2006

The execution of President Saddam Hussein would be a grave war crime 
imputable under international law

The US-orchestrated tribunal that sentenced President Saddam Hussein has no 
legal standing

The imminent execution of Iraq’s lawful president is testimony to the 
gutting of international law by the Bush administration and its criminal 
partners

President Saddam Hussein is a prisoner of war with protected status under 
international law.[i] Further, he is the lawful president of the Republic of 
Iraq. He cannot be executed legally by the US occupation.

Under the Interim Constitution of Iraq of 1990 — which remains in force 
despite the illegal imposition of a permanent Iraqi constitution written by 
the United States — President Saddam Hussein, like heads of state worldwide, 
including in the US and Europe, is afforded sovereign immunity to 
prosecution.[ii]

That the US invaded Iraq illegally and established an illegal political 
process and a quisling Iraqi government only exacerbates the violation of 
President Saddam Hussein’s personal and sovereign rights and the affront to 
the whole of Iraq. His imminent execution is an attempt to establish, de 
facto, a global state of exception to law. Force cannot make just what law 
denies.

The US-led invasion of the Republic of Iraq was illegal and cannot be made 
legal by the execution of Iraq’s lawful president. The occupation is illegal 
and cannot survive by authoring new atrocities.

This mockery of law

The Iraqi Higher Criminal Court that passed a death sentence on President 
Saddam Hussein is a farce. Not only is it grounded on illegality (occupying 
powers under international law are expressly prohibited from changing the 
judicial structures of occupied states[iii]); the trial itself stands 
distinguished in legal history by its sheer number of due process and 
international standard of fairness violations.[iv]

These violations have included, often with systematic effect: American 
imposed censorship of court proceedings; withholding evidence from the 
defence; forcible ejection from court of defence lawyers and the placing of 
defence lawyers under house arrest; denial of defence counsel access to 
defendants; blatant lack of impartiality of court judges; overt political 
interference in the selection of court officials and the prejudicing of the 
trial and trial outcome by statements made by invested political figures — 
including George W Bush — affirming progress towards, or demanding, 
execution; the replacement of four of the five originally selected court 
judges; lack of equality of arms between the prosecution and the defence; 
refusals to accept key defence submissions, especially motions challenging 
the competence and legality of the court; violations of key fair trial 
principles and standards and international humanitarian law[v]; violation of 
Iraqi law[vi]; intimidation of witnesses; failure to ensure the security of 
the defence leading to the murder of three defence lawyers.

Created by Paul Bremer, the Iraqi Higher Criminal Court was never anything 
but a US-orchestrated puppet court.[vii] The imposition of a death sentence 
after an unfair trial stands in direct violation of international law.[viii]

The truth about this court

>From day one, this court has been nothing but a smokescreen: an attempt to 
establish a veneer of legality to an illegal invasion of a sovereign state. 
>From day one, the final conclusion — the illegal execution of Iraq’s lawful 
president — has been a fait accompli. The only question has been when.

As 2006 ends, the United States is desperate. Defeated militarily on the 
ground, long defeated politically and morally, the occupation is preparing 
to open the year 2007 with a barrage of atrocities, including the open 
murder of Iraq’s lawful president. This, like all other US-authored 
atrocities in Iraq, will not allow the US and its criminal partners to 
impose on Iraq a future that is contrary to the fundamental interests of the 
Iraqi people.

The imminent execution of President Saddam Hussein is a challenge to the 
world. Its occurrence would mark a watershed in the imposition by force of a 
global state of exception to law and to international standards of justice 
and due process.

States are obliged to protect international law and oppose acts that 
undermine it.[ix] International law is the arbiter and final guarantor of 
world peace. When states cannot or fail to act to protect it, or when they 
act resolutely to destroy it, it is the duty of citizens everywhere to 
oppose global tyranny by direct action.

Urgent action demands

We demand that legal institutions worldwide, governmental and 
non-governmental, act now to prevent the illegal execution of President 
Saddam Hussein.

We demand that all states and the United Nations speak up immediately and 
oppose and prevent the illegal execution of President Saddam Hussein.

We demand an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council in which must be 
affirmed the legal basis governing international relations and in particular 
the fundamental jus cogens norms of international humanitarian law.

We call upon the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to defend its 
November 2006 conclusion that the detention of President Saddam Hussein is 
illegal and act to prevent his illegal execution.

We invoke the mandate afforded to the UN Special Rapporteur on 
Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution to intervene to prevent the 
illegal execution of President Saddam Hussein.

We call upon the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and 
Lawyers to defend his March 2006 conclusion that the Iraqi Higher Criminal 
Court is questionable, has limited competence and has given rise to serious 
breaches of international human rights principles and standards. We call 
upon the rapporteur to intervene to prevent the illegal execution of 
President Saddam Hussein — a further insult to justice.

We demand that the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights personally intervene 
to prevent this grave war crime from occurring. No one in authority can 
claim ignorance as to its imminence.

We affirm that international law is the bequest of generations and an 
expression of the development of human civilization and that people 
worldwide, individually and in groups, have a stake in protecting it, and 
the world peace that depends on it.

We call upon citizens and individuals everywhere to stand up in defence of 
international law and Iraqi sovereignty and act to prevent the execution of 
Iraq’s legal president.

The execution of Saddam Hussein would not only be a war crime against one 
individual and state. It would lend an illusion of legality to illegal acts 
— both the execution of a lawful president and the invasion and destruction 
of Iraq. It would be nothing less than a declaration of the death of 
international law, slain by this criminal Bush administration and its 
collaborators.

If the execution of President Saddam Hussein will not lead to an 
international or global war, it sows the seeds, in its overt illegality, and 
in conjunction with Washington’s exclusion of international law from 
international relations, for precisely this outcome.

Abdul Ilah Albayaty (BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee)
Ian Douglas (BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee)
Hana Albayaty (BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee)
Dirk Adriaensens (BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee)
Inge Van De Merlen (BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee)

[i] In January 2004 the US government officially recognized President Saddam 
Hussein’s prisoner of war status. See Article 3 The Hague IV Regulations, 
1907: "The armed forces of the belligerent parties may consist of combatants 
and non-combatants. In the case of capture by the enemy, both have a right 
to be treated as prisoners of war." The Third Geneva Convention Relative to 
the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, provides for the human rights to 
security of person, privacy, respect, humane treatment, and fair trial. 
Under international law, no special arrangements can be constituted that 
adversely affect the rights of persons. See Article 7 of The Fourth Geneva 
Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of 
War, 1949.

[ii] See Article 40 of the Interim Constitution of Iraq (1990).

[iii] See Articles 43 and 55 of The Hague IV Regulations on Laws and Customs 
of War on Land, 1907; Articles 54 and 64 of The Fourth Geneva Convention 
Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War, 1949.

[iv] For a full account of the illegality of the Iraqi Higher Criminal Court 
and the violations of international fair trial principles and standards 
witnessed during its proceedings see Iraqi Special Tribunal: A Corruption of 
Justice by Ramsey Clark and Curtis Doebbler (13 September 2006).

[v] Articles 70 and 65 of The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the 
Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War, 1949; Article 14 of the 
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 14 of the 
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires that courts be 
established under preexisting law.

[vi] The Iraqi Higher Criminal Court is inconsistent with Iraqi law because 
it violates basic principles of international human rights law that are 
binding on Iraqi authorities according to Article 44 of the Interim 
Constitution of Iraq of 1990. Further, the court was formed in violation of 
processes set forth in Section IV, Articles 60 and 61 of the Interim 
Constitution and the Iraqi Law on Judicial Organization, the latter 
illegally annulled by Coalition Provisional Authority Order No 15 of 23 June 
2003.

[vii] That the occupying power, through the Coalition Provisional Authority, 
created the Iraqi Higher Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special 
Tribunal) is established by the fact that Order No 48, containing the 
statute of the court, had to be signed by Coalition Provisional Authority 
Administrator L Paul Bremer before it could enter into force.

[viii] See Article 6, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil 
and Political Rights that prohibits imposition of the death penalty when it 
does not apply "in accordance with the law in force at the time of the 
commission of the crime." The retroactive application of the death penalty 
violates the Iraqi Penal Code, which states in Article 1: "no act or 
omission shall be penalized except in accordance with a legislative 
provision under which the said act or omission is regarded as a criminal 
offense at the time of its occurrence." This arbitrary application of the 
death penalty is also a violation of the right to life in Article 6 of the 
International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. See also Articles 2, 4 
and 5 of the UN Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those 
Facing the Death Penalty.

[ix] Article 42(2) of the United Nations International Law Commission’s 
Draft Articles on State Responsibility, representing the rule of customary 
international law, prevents states from benefiting from their own illegal 
acts: "No State shall recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious 
breach …" (emphasis added); Section III(e), UN General Assembly Resolution 
36/103 of 14 December 1962, "Declaration on the Inadmissibility of 
Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States".

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