Saddam Husseins Prozess im Rampenlicht

--- Saddam Hussein sorgt wieder für Schlagzeilen, nachdem er heute erstmals in Bagdad dem Richter vorgeführt wurde. Sonderlich friedfertig und reumütig zeigte sich der Ex-Diktator, dem die im Irak extra wegen ihm wieder eingeführte Todesstrafe droht, nicht: Als Saddam Hussein in Nadelstreifen und Handschellen dem Haftrichter vorgeführt wurde, machte er einen ruhigen Eindruck. Doch in seiner Wortwahl war der Untersuchungshäftling ganz der Alte: Er nannte US-Präsident Bush den "wahren Verbrecher" und beschimpfte die Kuweiter als Hunde. Die USA pokern hoch damit, dass sie den Despoten in seinem Heimatland vors Gericht stellen. Was alles auf dem Spiel steht, fasst die New York Times zusammen: For the people of this country, the Iraqi Special Tribunal could open the door for a thorough accounting of the crimes committed by his notoriously repressive government. For the fledgling Iraqi government, it could offer an opportunity to shore up confidence among a weary citizenry. For the Bush administration, known for its dislike of international criminal tribunals, it could mean a chance to establish a war-crimes court it can hold up as a model. Mr. Hussein appeared before an Iraqi court on Wednesday, after being held in American custody for seven months, but his formal trial is unlikely to begin before next year, Iraqi officials said. With so much at stake, the proceedings carry as much promise as peril. Already, questions have come up about whether the Iraqi Special Tribunal, relying on Iraqi law and American legal expertise, can produce credible, transparent proceedings or whether the result will amount to little more than victor's justice — or victim's vengeance. On the one hand, the trial of the former dictator could deliver a degree of empowerment to a country still reeling from the excesses of Mr. Hussein's rule. On the other, it could present the defendant with a political platform of his own. Compared with war-crimes courts from Nuremberg to Sierra Leone, the Iraqi Special Tribunal is unique in that it is not an independent international judiciary from the start. The Iraqi government has insisted on trying him in the country, under Iraqi law and by Iraqi judges. American lawyers and law enforcement agents have been dispatched to sift through the evidence against Mr. Hussein, dig up mass graves for forensic proof of his crimes and develop the prosecution strategy. Critics say they wonder whether an Iraqi judiciary, crippled from years of isolation and repression, is up to the task of carrying out such a complex war-crimes case. They also question the degree of American influence over the entire enterprise. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and agents from the Justice Department. The American military is guarding Mr. Hussein, even as he is transferred to the legal custody of the Iraqis. Washington is financing the court. "The tribunal, the statute, can be seen as a microcosm of the larger undertaking," said Richard Dicker, head of transitional justice for Human Rights Watch, the New York-based rights group. "It's an occupation-supported effort with Iraqi judges and lawyers." Americans guiding the process say they are taking pains to preserve independence and credibility. Vieles kann schieflaufen bei einem solchen Schauprozess, das zeigt das Verfahren gegen Milosevic in Den Haag. Aber eine echte andere Wahl blieb der Bush-Regierung nicht.

PS: Beim Preisbloggen der Zeit fällt die Wahl für das beste Fachblog natürlich viel einfacher ;-)