The Trial of Saddam Hussein

2007 ,    »  -   69 Comments
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Ratings: 6.93/10 from 95 users.
Storyline
The Trial of Saddam Hussein

To see Saddam on a trial was something that Iraqi people couldn't even imagine. A former dictator standing in the well of the courtroom and being tried on evidence publicly presented for the Iraqi people and for the world to see... and to make their own judgments. That is the first step towards the rule of law. The hope was not that he would be punished, that was entirely secondary all along, but that the entire system which was beheaded would be put on trial.

The trial began in October, 2005, two years after Saddam's regime toppled. Iraq was a volatile mix of violence and politics and an insurgency, hostile to the American occupation, was growing. The US government hoped that bringing the former dictator to justice would help build democracy in the new Iraqi nation. But events outside the courtroom threatened to undermine the trial.

In December, 2003, President Bush's representative, Paul Bremer, and a counsel of leading Iraqis governed Iraq. They established the Iraqi High Tribunal to try Saddam Hussein and his regime. To assist the new court the US Department of Justice created the RCLO - The Regime Crimes Liaison Office - a team of lawyers and investigators.

They wanted to establish a court where for the first time people were going to be tried based on evidence presented in the court. Not like courts that Saddam had, where there would be a knock in the middle of the night, and you'd be whisked off at eight o'clock at night to the revolutionary court, tried by ten, convicted by two in the morning, and dead by six.

Investigators collected evidence for 14 criminal cases against Saddam's regime. In a desert town of al-Hatra a mass gravesite was uncovered. There were 300 bodies, women and children only, virtually all with a gunshot wounds in the back of the head. It was evidence in the most notorious case - Saddam's campaign to exterminate Kurds in the 80's.

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69 Comments / User Reviews

  1. oQ

    i agree, where were the weapons of mass destruction? We can't ask enough.

  2. Guest

    I doubt Blair could be trialed for Abu Grahib and Guantanamo. Both were under American Jurisdiction so the British prime minister had absolutely no control over them.

  3. Guest

    There are a few in the U.S.A., nuclear weapons. I guess the U.S.A will have to invade itself to disarm their arsenal.

  4. dmxi

    always get rid of former buisness allies,right?just think of what explosive info he had to tell?

  5. Fabien L'Amour

    I understand that documentary was made in the U.S.A. by PBS but I think the American point of view was too emphasized. I don't deny it was a deeply political trial with many irregularities but there were too many U.S. advisors interviews to my liking.

  6. RenegadeFT

    few? I spent most of the past decade working in CBRN (chem, bio, radiological, nuclear) Defense in the US military and if by "few" you nearly "8,000" known nuclear warheads. This doesn't touch on our chemical weapons nor RADIOLOGICAL WMD', Depleted Uranium (use in armor piercing ammo) which he have coated the middle east in...... and Obama has been no better than bush was in regards to our USE of wmd's, especially in his secret war (ya inhumane drones & state sponsored assassination). The tyrants running the country on both sides laugh because even if one of the sheep ends up pilling off the first layer of lies, they are still so far from the truth.... just go watch dancing with stars and eat a big mac....

  7. Fabien L'Amour

    I wouldn't label drones as weapons of mass destruction, they are but a delivery tool for any ordinance they can carry. Depleted uranium munitions are borderline, it depends how many are fired as they kill via contamination over time. I'd say they fall in the same category as Agent Orange, their primary use is not intended to kill a large amount of people but they do if you use a lot of them.

    Obviously, the definition will vary from person to person depending how you define mass and destruction. I tend to limit it to Nuclear, Chemical, Radiological and Biological weapons that can kill thousands in one delivery.

  8. Michelle

    We couldn't find any WMDs because he had already used them up in his genocide program trying to exterminate the Kurds. Also it was the USA that originally gave them to him so we know that at least at one time he did have some. I remember a Desert Storm vet commenting that the Iraqi military had great equipment and artillery. Of course they did -- the USA gave it to them during the Iran-Iraq war.

  9. Fabien L'Amour

    Wow that was a very interesting post, thanks a lot for your expertise!

  10. Pysmythe

    This is true, but I also seem to recall a big deal being made at the time by "my government" about mobile WMD labs, which also never turned up... And I sincerely doubt the reason for that is simply because they were mobile.

  11. JuHoansi

    And don't forget the fake nuclear weapons stories, the fake biological weapons stories and the fake incubator stories of Iraqi kids being unplugged.

  12. Rick Kiriakidis

    The US also uses white phosphorous which it says only for smoke/tracer.... right. It is absolutely a chemical weapon and they've used it often.

  13. TheDanishViking

    So in order to prevent Saddam from killing innocent people we started a war that so far(!) has resulted in 200,000 dead civilians.

  14. Patrick Smith

    I can't believe lawyers are feeling sorry for Saddam's outcome. Come on they went to school, higher education, big bucks, ivy league, should of known. History repeats itself. Absolute power corrupts absolute.

  15. a_no_n

    It's beyond belief...if a gas that boils the skin off your bones isn't classed as a WMD what the hell is?

  16. ZeissIkon

    Perhaps it would have been more appropriate at the point where you see Sadam dangling from the rope to have a Walter Cronkite like voice over simply announce "Ladies and gentlemen, we have now officially lost the moral high ground". Of course it's very hard to feel any sympathy for the man himself, he was undoubtedly a monster, but it should be recognised that before he fell out of favour, he was our monster. Furthermore we unofficially lost the moral high ground about 60 years ago, but that's another story...

  17. ZeissIkon

    Yep, good Ol' Whisky Pete never hurt anyone, did he boys and girls...
    It stretches the limits of credulity to buy that one. The usage of white phosphorous was as bad as many of the things that Sadam stood trial for.

  18. FERENC CSICSERI

    The whole trial was a s*upid circus,we should not be there they are barbaric ,and have no understanding for fair trial.they should just shoot him when they pulled him out of the hole and don't waste no time try to figure it out what he really did.It's no brainier Bush is the one who started that stupid war and invaded Iraq but of course the mass media tells us he liberated Iraq.he is responsible for all the civilians death and American soldiers but of course we don't talk about that

  19. Fabien L'Amour

    The moral high ground was lost when Western powers decided it was OK to bomb civilian targets during WW2. Osaka - Kassel - Darmstadt - Pforzheim - Swinoujscie - Dresden - Hamburg - Hiroshima and Nagasaki, none of these were seats of power. 42 600 died in Hamburg alone.

  20. elizabeth wesley

    The U S lust for oil could't be the reason could it? Bush is oil and his government was full of oil associates who do what they want and tell the populace what they want also which is hardly ever the truth.

  21. gaboora

    Well done history lesson. This is the kind of film to show high school students, nice and objective.

  22. ZeissIkon

    Yes, it could have been quite easily avoided too, as by that point in the war they had the technology and equipment (De Havilland Mosquito) to conduct a far more precise bombing campaign concentrated on military and industrial targets. I've often wondered why they chose to persist in mass producing heavy bombers in order to deliberately create firestorms in densely populated civilian areas. They'd have also lost an awful lot less airmen.

  23. Brycce Krick

    @ZeissIkon:disqus Because bombing civilian populations demoralizes them, leading to less resistance for ground forces and possible rebellions within the enemy ranks. also because precision bombers were less likely to completely destroy targets and were much more expensive for less of a bang, both figuratively and literally.

  24. Brycce Krick

    You realize that Kuwait was an tiny defenseless nation being completely wiped off the map by Saddams army right, and that israel was being hit by SCUD missiles? also that they had pretty well the entire worlds approval because Saddam was using chemical weapons against inmocents and torturing civilians.

  25. Fabien L'Amour

    I don't see how un-precise bombing can be less expensive than precise bombing. The crew cost, fuel cost and cost of the bombs that missed their target must not be accounted for in your figures.

  26. ZeissIkon

    Well, I'll be honest and say that I do live in Mosquito country here, being just a couple of miles down the road from the museum on the site of the old De Havilland secret development plant where the plane was designed, and it is rather a source of local pride, so I am probably just a touch biased :-)
    However, I do believe the bare facts speak for themselves, namely that the Mosquito, though carrying only half the payload of a Lancaster, did it using half the number of engines, a crew of just 2 as opposed to 7, cost 1/3rd the price to build, using mostly readily available wood (birch and balsa I believe) and very little Aluminium, and most importantly suffered 1/10th the loss rate of the heavier bomber. This being due to it being able to fly higher and faster than anything the enemy could throw at it (when it entered service it was the fastest war plane in the world and held that title for some time), which meant the bomber version didn't even bother carrying any guns and little by way of armour.
    Furthermore, as well as proving itself a phenomenally accurate low level bomber (if you've never heard of it, just Google "Operation Crossbow" to verify that statement), it's higher altitude accuracy was also very good, considering they used Mosquitoes as pathfinders to improve the accuracy of the Lancasters.

    In addition to that, the Mosquito would also prove to be probably the best night fighter of the war and was a pretty effective daytime opponent too, so they could easily have been used as long range escorts.
    Of course, the most damning testimony of all came from the German high command themselves, who's records show that they were amazed that the allies didn't build more of these terrifying planes and persisted with their heavy bombers.
    So all in all, I really can't see how you could possibly maintain that Lancasters (let alone B29's with their smaller payload) offered more bang for your bucks. Though perhaps, more importantly, we are also missing the point a touch, as what needs to be factored into this is the true long term value of maintaining the moral high ground, by not lowering yourself to your enemies' standards and indulging in the deliberate bombing of civilians in the first place, and that is quite priceless.

    Finally, sorry to pick at your whole posting, but I personally see no evidence for the argument that carpet bombing large conurbations really does lessen resistance. In fact, wherever you get a city that's been bombed flat, you tend to find that resistance is truly bitter and resolute when ground forces move in (Stalingrad and Berlin spring readily to mind), and do remember that Hitler and Goering subscribed to your view during the Blitz, and that didn't work out particularly effective for them either.

  27. Brycce Krick

    in wars where carpet bombing is a standard tactic, cost typically isnt a major issue, but the lancaster could carry 22,000 pounds of bombs, whereas the mosquito could carry 3,000, sending ~7 mosquitoes to do the same damage as one lancaster is just not worth it, especially when you can send 50 lancasters, and destroy whatever is remotely near the target (or not, depending on the weather, either way...) and decimate enemy moral and logistics, not to mention all the soldiers and civilians who can no longer fight your invading force.

  28. Brycce Krick

    i enjoy seeing my failed argument picked apart and shown to me as a failure of my own internet skills, thanks. (im not being a sarcastic dick, i really mean it). hitler had the wrong idea. you cant expect to carpet bomb someone who is already broken down and crushed, it serves no purpose. and the german philosophy of "quality over quantity" didn't work for them either, but the US army follows that doctrine, and they seem quite successful. if a city is bombed flat, like the german city of dresden, there isnt anywhere for the enemy to hide, thus being easy targets, or dead from the bombing.

  29. Fabien L'Amour

    If the Lancaster had a precision of 30% as has been often reported, only 6600 pounds on average hit their mark. The following event makes me think 2 Mosquitoes could deliver those 6600 pounds on target without much difficulty.

    "When
    British Intelligence found out that Goering, the Head of the German Luftwaffe,
    was to give a major speech on Berlin radio at 11.00am on 30th January
    1943 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Nazi Party, Bomber Command could
    not resist - two Mosquitoes raced over Berlin in broad daylight and bombed
    the radio station as Goering went live on air - disrupting the whole propaganda
    event."

  30. ZeissIkon

    Sorry to be a beastly know-it-all again (I do feel like a bit of a tit doing this), but there's a slight confusion about payloads that often comes up, namely that the 22,000 lb the Lancaster carried was actually one single Grand Slam earthquake bomb (specialist ordnance for precision bombing U-Boat pens and deep concrete bunkers), which seriously impeded the plane's handling/performance and it certainly couldn't carry it very far.
    Payloads on long range missions were considerably less than this, as they clearly had to compensate for fuel loads. For a raid on Berlin the Lancasters were carrying just over twice the maximum payload of the Mosquito (4,000 lb), which incidentally could carry a single 4,000 lb Cookie all the way there, however it was the size of the bomb bay that restricted its payload and, for the sort of mixed load used in area bombing, they could only fit about 3,000 lb in. In fact because Mosquitoes were mainly used for target marking and path finding on those missions, they were often carrying less than 2,000 lb of mainly incendiaries.
    So this is all really getting a touch hypothetical, as we're now trying to compare both planes as effective area bombers, whereas the original question was more along the lines of whether precision bombing of military/industrial targets by Mosquitoes was more effective than area bombing cities. Anyway, the Germans weren't so much bombed into submission, it was more a case of them simply running out of resources. I personally think that if someone bombs your city flat, the human tendency is to hate them and want to kill them, whereas, if they take out all military and industrial installations in your area with pinpoint precision, leaving the residential areas eerily untouched, it's actually quite demoralising and the tendency is to fear them, I know I'd be thinking "these guys are really good, we're in a lot of trouble here."

  31. Brycce Krick

    2 mosquitoes... for one lancaster. note that often 50 or so lancasters were sent at a time. whereas mosquitoes were better suited to specific targets, such as the radio station you mentioned, whereas lancasters were only meant for bombing things like cities, ports and other massive targets.

  32. Brycce Krick

    even if the entire population of the city wants to fight your forces, there is no place for them to hide, as the whole city is either bombed flat or burning, so an invading force has a much easier time getting through resistance because most of them will have gone somewhere else to fight, or perished in the bombing. precision bombing is helpful nowadays, where the mindset is to not make the population hate you, because we can now take out one room in one building while leaving the childrens hospital next door unharmed, which would have been "f--k it, flatten the whole city" in WW2. also, the mosquito and the lancaster shouldn't even BE compared like this. the lancaster is a heavy strategic area bomber and was not designed to be very precise or fast and used in large groups, while the mosquito is a dinky, little badass that is better suited to taking out tank regiments that to bombing a city.

  33. Fabien L'Amour

    My point is that instead of 50 Lancasters, you send in 100 Mosquitoes with better precision and survivability, deliver your bombs on strategic targets, kill less civilians and don't lower yourself to the mass murder and mass destruction modus operandi.

  34. Brycce Krick

    the whole idea of area bombing was to kill as many as possible, usually, anyway. and while fighting a war you can't get any less honorable. you are in a war.

  35. Phill Pelling

    I can think of a few American and British leaders who could be tried for crimes of torturing people and murdering innocent people. like children. Every great nation has fallen i wonder who is next. History is made from today's news, or should i call it propaganda .
    What would history really be like if it was written by the losers .

  36. Fabien L'Amour

    Killing hundred thousands civilians on purpose is despicable and less honorable than fighting the opposing armed force.

  37. Fabien L'Amour

    We is a broad term, there was considerable opposition to the war all over the world including in countries that provided forces for the invasion and even at the U.N. I clearly remember France being strongly against it and the renaming of french fries to "liberty" fries or "freedom" fries.

  38. TheDanishViking

    You are right. Denmark (my country) had troops on the ground in Iraq and also Afghanistan. In retrospect I think the French were right. What a total waste of time, money, focus and of cause lives. Just plain stupid.

  39. Fabien L'Amour

    I agree Iraq was futile. Afghanistan was different since that is where the terrorists had training bases and it had been invaded by the Talibans, a foreign force mainly based in Pakistan. That intervention was justified though how it was done is questionable.

  40. TheDanishViking

    Not so sure I agree. If there were terrorist trainingbases in Afghanistan (which I believe there were) then I am pretty sure the US air force and special units destroyed them in the first days/weeks/months after 9-11. Why invade the country?! Secondly, the whole problem in Afghanistan is to discriminate between "taliban", "terrorists", "clans", "drug-smuglers", "average criminals" and "(opium)farmers". To this day it is impossible for anybody to define these terms. Third, it was also obvious from the beginning that any terrorists would just run into Pakistan and hide which they did. Also, I am not sure what you mean by "invaded by taliban"? Taliban is an integrated part of Afghanistan. Not a foreign invading group...

  41. Fabien L'Amour

    Obviously, the US Air Force didn't destroy the cave bases since they had to send troops to track Ben Laden.

    The Taliban movement traces its origin to the Pakistani-trained
    mujahideen in northern Pakistan, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and has close ties to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. According to Pakistani Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid,
    "between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis
    trained and fought in Afghanistan" on the side of the Taliban. Pretty obvious to me it's a foreign led group.

  42. TheDanishViking

    Bin Laden was HIDING in the mountains (or so we were told). But IMO that still does not justify a full scale invasion. Special troops would suffice (and also ended doing the job of killing Bin Laden). What is the point of invading the entire country and starting a war with the Taliban? I don't get it. Better to track the terrorists to Yemen or where "they" are hiding at the moment? Some of the 9-11 hijackers came from Germany...

    Where the Taliban originally comes from I don't know. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is not locally recognized and the Taliban has substantial popular support in southern parts of Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

    Recently the NATO allies are now reaching out to the Taliban in peace settlements. From a pure strategic perspective the war in Afghanistan was born to fail and I believe it has. The puppet government is corrupt, the army is weak, and the Taliban is back and waiting it out...

  43. Fabien L'Amour

    I agree but the original intervention was justified. Staying there for 10 years plus wasn't.

  44. Rajesh Kumar.

    after watching this documentary i firmly believe that democracy is not suited for islamic states which mostly function based on hatred and violence.

  45. Brycce Krick

    those same civilians are much more likely to engage in guerrilla warfare if you don't bomb the shit out of them. thats why they did that. it's pretty easy to justify killing tens of thousands if they are, in fact, nazis. the problem is when most of the people you're killing aren't nazis and don't want any war to go on, this wasn't always the case though.

  46. Fabien L'Amour

    Nazis were definitely not the majority. The most votes the Nazi party got was 17,277,180 (43.9%) in 1933 then Germany became a totalitarian state were dissent was brutally squashed.

  47. Brycce Krick

    in some areas party membership was high, making for more of resistance to a ground invasion. i never said everyone in germany was a nazi so it was OK to bomb the country flat, just that in some areas it made more sense than not doing that.

  48. Manu Hashidate

    Obviously that is NOT Saddam Hussein - it's one of his doubles! Once one has realised that, the blather and emotion from both sides here in this documentary and this forum, seems utterly, wrongly misplaced!

    Check his voice, check his facial markings, the silly beard - it ain't Saddam! This lifetime devoted double allegedly 'muttered' at his hanging 'Palestine belongs to the Arabs'. Hmnnn... The royal, educated, murderous Hussein would have deferred to death differently, in my humble opinion!

    Saddam allegedly died in 1999 and his first wife and two sons ran the country using his former doubles 'till 2003. Saddam's son, Uday had a double too - Latif Yahia, though the current-day Orwellian media are doing the darndest to sanitise and dilute such uncomfortable truths.

  49. joseph borg

    I doubt if he (Saddam) was the real one in court. I see him much different from we use to see him on TV during the invasion. Any way no one can tell.

  50. 31jetjet

    My boyfriend grew up in Iraq. He believed at times he was on drugs probably given to him by soldiers when he was captured, This is a great one to see: Hour Zero or Zero Hour the capture of Saddam Hussein

  51. Tony Richeal

    That is not Saddam.

  52. ABDUL GHAFFAR ODHO

    This is saddam or not. But i m condemn the way of US to interrupt in the sovereignity of any Country.

  53. TJ Spyke

    yes it is

  54. TJ Spyke

    You can think whatever you want, but that was the real Saddam

  55. TJ Spyke

    What drugs are you on? None of what you said is true.

  56. Manu Hashidate

    Re: " None of what you said is true." You've made an ad-hoc REACTION to my comment - what's your actual RESPONSE now you may have thought about it?

    With your own eyes you can empirically compare and check the teeth, eyes and brow of the real Saddam with the bearded-double paraded in this flick. Conspiracy fact!

    On-line image search for 'real Saddam' or 'Saddam tragus' - there's plenty! Images of the real Saddam started disappearing in the run-up to 'his' trial.

    Latif Yahia's experience is also true!

    To answer your question: I smoke pot, and drink red-wine like every frikkin normal person!

    I can only recommend we all Keep an open mind, I too, used to think that what I didn't know - wasn't true!

  57. TJ Spyke

    Whether you like it or not, that's the real Saddam that was on trial. Any normal person can clearly tell it's him. None of the conspiracy theories you spouted are true.

  58. Manu Hashidate

    Thanks for staying interested TJ Spyke!

    QUOTE: "Whether you like it or not, that's the real Saddam that was on trial. Any normal person can clearly tell it's him. None of the conspiracy theories you spouted are true." - you say this, but it's supported by what? An ad-hoc reaction risks little of what you really mean.

    Earlier you asked what drugs I'm on, and now you've said comment my includes 'conspiracy theories' and that I 'spouted' them... well, there are few conversational devices, TJ, and you've just used 'labelling' and the use of 'loaded words'.

    But your opinion re: the alarming possibility of this being one of Saddams doubles is...?

  59. TJ Spyke

    "Alarming possibility"? There is ZERO possibility, because that was the real Saddam and not some body double. There has never been even a hint that it's not the real Saddam, nor have anybody ever presented any evidence that it isn't him.

  60. Manu Hashidate

    More ad-hoc, unsupported blather... you are now using another conversational device called - attempting to talk on behalf of everybody else. I'm still waiting for you to risk an opinion?

    I won't patronise you by posting a link to a photo where it's apparent that the real Saddam does not have rounded, baggy eyes, but rather 'tears of a clown' bags beneath his eyes. And you can also compare the lines on the forehead to empirically confirm that our-man in this video was one of Hussein's doubles! Saddam's regal, perfect teeth, the beard, the brow, the eye bags - take a look and get back real quick - it's nearly midnight here in Berlin!

  61. TJ Spyke

    You are really grasping at straws here. I love talking with conspiracy theorists and listening to you give your reasoning (even if I know it's false).

  62. Manu Hashidate

    You have a good night TJ

  63. moif

    f*** saddam and his henchmen

  64. Peter JC

    Curits Lemay wasnt hung, Kissinger gets a bull**** Nobel Peace Price, its all a farce controlled by the victor of the day.

  65. benimateistarkadasimdavar

    That is what you'll firmly believe if you base your idea on the subject on only one documentary. Saddam was a military officer (former asset of the CIA). He was a socialist, a progressive leader for Iraq who also committed many many crimes and (if you are for the death penalty) got what was coming to him. This does not change the fact that the US used this as an excuse to invade Iraq and help keep the unbalance in Middle East. You believe those eastern people are savages? Ignorant bastards maybe? Do you think democracy is suited for non Islamic countries like US, who invade other continents, stage coups? Who did nothing but look the other way when torturing of prisoners were exposed? Or for Russia who keeps on trying to add land to herself every opportunity she gets? For France who bans wearing of Hijab at work? India, who is for gangrape as a penalty method? I am sincerely sick of ignorant people like you who base their knowledge on so little and think that they know all about the world. You are a simple, textbook globalized world citizen (right on the other side of the conspiracy theorists) who dares to say such disrespectful things on other populations out of sheer ignorance. You make me sick.

  66. Donna

    Everyone is asking "where were the weapons of mass destruction?" No one is talking about the pregnant women and children that were killed. He deserved to die just based on that alone.

  67. TA

    The picture used for the storyline is taken from the cover of the book "The Trial of Saddam Hussein" by Dr. Abdul-Haq Al-Ani, in which he explains the occupation and its aftermath and the farce of the trial. Info on the book can be found here:

  68. Adman

    How many political leaders would be considered mass murderers or war criminals when ousted by a foreign military? All of them?

    I think the WMD farce comes down to the idea that the inference by Bush that they were manufacturing WMDs with more dangerous capabilities than the weapons that America provided them with. The assertion wasn't; "Saddam still has some of those nasty weapons we sold him." It was; "Saddam is manufacturing/purchasing new and dangerous weapons that he intends to use."

    Saddam was a violent dictator but the reasoning and justification for invading was false or exaggerated, resulting in an unjustified invasion, no matter how you slice it.

  69. Mark

    The capture of Saddam was a scam. The trial was a scam. The hanging was a scam. That man was not Saddam. Open your eyes people, this is obvious.

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