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Execution of Saddam Hussein.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA145 30 December

2006

EXECUTION OF SADDAM HUSSEIN

The execution of Saddam Hussein is a significant moment in Iraq’s history. He has been brought to justice, following a process of fair trial and appeal, something he denied to countless thousands of victims of his regime.

The people of Iraq now know that their brutal dictator will never come back to lead them. While many will continue to grieve over their personal loss under his rule, his death marks an important step in consigning his tyrannical regime to the judgement of history and pursuing a process of reconciliation now and in the future.

Saddam and two of his former officials were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Iraqi Higher Tribunal on 5 November of crimes against humanity for the orchestration of the execution of 148 men and boys in the village of Dujail nearly 25 years ago. It is a credit to the people of Iraq that he was provided a fair trial, which lasted over a year, for this, and the gruesome other crimes for which he and his regime were responsible.

It was because of Saddam’s flagrant defiance of UN Security Council resolutions that we took action against him, drawing attention also to the evil nature of his rule. Notwithstanding the challenges involved in securing the future of Iraq, today’s Iraq is ruled by an elected government, under a democratic and constitutional order.

No matter what one might think about the death penalty, and the Government of Iraq is aware of the Australian Government’s position on capital punishment, we must also respect the right of sovereign states to pass judgement relating to crimes committed against their people, within their jurisdictions.

The Australian Government, together with our coalition allies, will continue to support the stuggle of the vast majority of Iraq’s people to preserve and build upon the progress which has been achieved, where even the cruellest of dictators can be tried and brought to justice.

Media contact: Scott Bolitho (Departmental) 02 6261 1555 www.dfat.gov.au