Britain is supposed to be morally and legally opposed to the death penalty, so why is Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett expressing her support for the psycho ex-dictator’s imminent execution? Yes, the guy’s guilty (and guilty of far more than he was tried for), but how does this mesh with the Foreign Office’s own pronouncements on killing people convicted by courts of law – even courts less controversial than that trying Saddam?
- “The UK has ratified Protocol 13 of the ECHR, banning the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, including time of war.”
- “In 1998, the FCO set up a Death Penalty Panel including expert academic, legal and NGO representatives. The Panel helps the Government draw up strategies towards the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.”
Not to mention
“The international community has agreed that even the worst offenders at the Rwandan and Yugoslav war crimes tribunals cannot face the death penalty. Criminals must be brought to justice. But there are other means of doing this.”
And then, of course, there’s the obvious dig about trials for Bush, Blair and the other “masterminds” (a misnomer if ever there was one) of the Coalition invasion and occupation, following Beckett’s wonderful statement that
“Appalling crimes were committed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. It is right that those accused of such crimes against the Iraqi people should face Iraqi justice.”
Was Saddam a supremely nasty, possibly actually evil bastard? No doubt about it. But – and again, entering utterly predictable liberal blogger territory here – if he’s been sentenced to death for the killing of just 181 people, who’s going to join him on the scaffold for the deaths of between 45,000 and 900,000 civilians since the start of the liberation process – between 250 and 4,970 times the number Saddam has been convicted of and sentenced to death for killing?