Thursday, August 05, 2004

A jury of his peers
At the same time as the new government of Iraq tries to gain some semblance of legitimacy in the eyes of the world and its own people, it is also trying to make a show of being a worthy partner to the prosperous democracies of the world. A key milestone in both of these efforts will be the trial of their former leader Saddam Hussein al Tikriti.

In the West, the usual standard of judicial fairness is the trial by a jury of one’s peers. Finding this jury might be harder than some of us would initially assume. Saddam’s natural peers are scumbag former dictators. Finding twelve scumbag former dictators to fill a jury box (and two alternates in case one gets sick, assassinated, or extradited) is a fairly iffy proposition. One of the occupational hazards of the job of scumbag dictators is that very few of them survive their retirement parties.

I’ve done my best and come up with a possible jury pool:
  • Slobodan Milosevic – Yugoslavia 1988-2000
  • Augusto Pinochet Ugarte – Chile 1973-1990
  • Jean-Claude ”Baby Doc” Duvalier – Haiti 1971-1986
  • Charles Taylor – Liberia 1996-2003
  • Alfredo Strossner – Paraguay 1954-1989 (who knew this Nazi loving old bastard was still alive?)
  • Mengistu Haile Mariam – Ethiopia 1977-1991
  • Chun Doo-hwan – South Korea 1980-1988
  • Manuel Antonio Noriega – Panama 1981-1989
  • Mullah Mohammed Omar – Afghanistan 1996-2001
  • Thojib N.J. Suharto – Indonesia 1967-1998
  • Moussa Traore – Mali 1968-1991
  • Sitiveni Rabuka – Fiji 1997-2001
  • Lennox Leslie Wongamu Sebe – Ciskei 1981-1990
  • Efrain Rios Montt – Guatemala 1982-1983

We may have trouble getting some of these former dictators to answer a jury summons, so we might need to pad out the jury pool with Saddam doubles and dictators still in power. Sadly, there are plenty of the latter available.

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