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What Would People Think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Hero for The Rule of Law

I want to talk about a hero...and I don't even know his correct name. He is the chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial. The New York Times says his name is Rizgar Ameen al-Saedi. ABC news calls him Rizgar Mohammed Amin...except in its captions, where it calls him Rizgur Ameen Hana Al-Saedi. I'm going to call him Judge Ameen, because that's what the Times does and frankly I think they are more literate than TV.

There's very few things about the Iraq invasion I like. I'm generally against unnecessary war and suffering...and against incompetence in planning which causes even more suffering. But let all that pass for the moment.

This trial is one thing I like. Saddam should be punished for the horrible things he did. But he should be punished under the rule of law, after a public trial with full rights. The world should see the evil things he did proven and he should be made to submit to the law like everybody else.

Earlier, I referred to Judge Ameen as a hero, striking a blow for the rule of law. Here's why:

A Kurd, Judge Ameen made a last-minute decision to allow one of three television cameras in the courtroom to focus on him, narrow-frame, thus shedding the anonymity that the four other judges in the case insisted on preserving out of fear of assassination or attacks on their families by insurgents who have already killed one judge.

Judge Ameen just earned my admiration for two reasons. First is his sheer bravery. Make no mistake, he's putting his life on the line. This decision is a big "f--- you" to the insurgents and their reign of terror. Boo ya!

But this is about more than defiance. Again, it's about the rule of law. The law is practiced out in the open...for the world to see. Law is legitimate because it acts in public and has nothing to hide. Secret trials are the stuff of 1984, Kafka, and...sadly, Guantanamo Bay. Secret judges (even if rightly afraid for their lives) are not much better. Hiding their faces undermines the legitimacy of this trial...legitimacy which is of the utmost importance.

But no longer. The rule of law now has a face, and that is the face of Judge Rizgar Ameen al-Saedi.

Judge Ameen, I salute you.

2 Comments:

  • I think everyone involved in that trial has a great deal of courage (well, except the defendants, who don't have a choice in the matter). Everyone has been so worried about the judges and the prosecutors...and now it turns out even the defense team have to worry for their safety. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051021/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_051021124226;_ylt=ApGf_gUKPeSpaMHRru9c_58XIr0F;_ylu=X3oDMTA2ZGZwam4yBHNlYwNmYw--

    Judge Ameen may remain alone in the spotlight...

    By Blogger Leah, at 10/21/2005 9:31 AM  

  • The html got cut off. It was just a link to a news article about how one of the defense lawyers was kidnapped and killed.

    By Blogger Leah, at 10/21/2005 9:34 AM  

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