Saddam Hussein may have an expedited date with the hangman. In a move that surprised no one, the highest Iraqi appellate court upheld Saddam’s conviction and death sentence in the Dujail case, forcing the Iraqi government to execute him within 30 days:
Iraq’s highest appeals court on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein’s death sentence and said he must be hanged within 30 days for the killing of 148 Shiites in the central city of Dujail.
The sentence “must be implemented within 30 days,” chief judge Aref Shahin said. “From tomorrow, any day could be the day of implementation.” …
Under Iraqi law, the appeals court decision must be ratified by President Jalal Talabani and Iraq’s two vice presidents. Talabani opposes the death penalty but has in the past deputized a vice president to sign an execution order on his behalf _ a substitute that was legally accepted.
Raed Juhi, a spokesman for the High Tribunal court that convicted Saddam, said the judicial system would ensure that Saddam is executed even if Talabani and the two vice presidents do not ratify the decision.
“We’ll implement the verdict by the power of the law,” Juhi said. He did not elaborate.
Saddam will have company on the gallows. The same court upheld the convictions and death sentences for Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, his intel chief and the judge who sentenced the Dujail victims to death, respectively. The court also emphasized its outlook on genocide by sending the life sentence of Saddam’s “vice president”, Taha Yassin Ramadan, back to the tribunal with a note saying it was not enough. They insisted that he get the death penalty, too.
So far, it looks like Mitch Berg won the betting pool; he alone put in January 2007 as the probable date for Saddam’s execution. Not too many others thought it would take this long to put Saddam to death for his genocides. The instability of the Iraqi government and the inconsistency of his tribunal accounts for the delay, and that delay has fed the Sunni insurgencies to some extent, making matters even worse.
Will his execution help matters? It might, at least to the extent that it will eliminate the silly rumors that the US would cut a deal with Saddam to take over the country once again to quell the Shi’ite militias. One of the people who believed that silly rumor was apparently Saddam himself, who might only stop believing it as the rope jerks to a stop.
I suspect that the Maliki government will actually execute Saddam within 72 hours, before the protests can gather steam. I also predict that they will televise it, just to ensure that the Iraqis don’t fall into a new conspiracy theory that they executed someone else as a stand-in for Saddam. (via Memeorandum)