(U-WIRE) BATON ROUGE, La. Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging Sunday morning by an Iraqi special tribunal for crimes against humanity.
The verdict will be reviewed in an appellate court within a month. The earliest probable date for his execution will be this spring.
While the death penalty may not give those who were affected by his crimes the satisfaction they deserve, we think it is good that some decision has finally been reached in this drawn-out case of violence and corruption.
He has been found guilty for the 1982 execution of 148 men and boys in the Shiite town of Dujail and is under prosecution for the deaths of 50,000 other people.
If Hussein does end up receiving the death penalty, it will be a violent end for a violent man.
The entire course of the trial has been marked by further bloodshed.
Three defense lawyers were shot dead by gunmen during the trial, and protesters used it for the basis of attacks on citizens.
Hussein’s Sunni Arab supporters have promised violence and widespread attacks in return for his guilty verdict. Khalil al-Dulaimi, Hussein’s chief defense counsel, said, “The doors of hell will open in Iraq, the sectarian divide in the country will deepen, and many more coffins will be sent back to America.”
While this violence and civil unrest is troubling, we do applaud the Iraqi court system for taking a stand and striving to attain justice in the face of violent threats.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, 2,824 Americans have died in Iraq since March 19, 2003. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health estimated last month that as many as 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence since March 2003.
More will die. More violence will come. This war is nowhere near over.
But this verdict is a symbol of change and of a promise that this conflict will end eventually.