The second trial of Saddam Hussein now taking place in Baghdad is going almost without notice. But at least the South African Mail & Guardian is paying some attention. In an article on November 30, its Iraq correspondent Paul Schemm reported on the testimony of Michael Trimble, the American expert who heads the mass graves investigative unit at the High Tribunal trying former officials of the Baath regime. "More than 120 bodies were discovered in one grave found in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, the court heard." And then Schemm quotes Trimble, "All these individuals were executed by gunshot. There were no adult males. There were 25 adult females, and I would call your attention to the fact there were 98 children ... In all these graves 90% of the children are less than 13 years of age." There is more gruesome testimony. Please read it all.
Now, a working group of the U.N. Human Rights Council, that superbly qualified arbiter of what is just and unjust, has protested that Saddam's first trial "had fallen so far short of international standards that Saddam's detention was arbitrary." The council urged the government "to refrain from carrying out the sentence of death by hanging imposed in a proceeding which does not meet applicable standards of a fair trial." How finicky China, Cuba, Azerbaijan, and Algeria are. At least the council didn't protest the death sentence itself. Almost all of its members have it.