If you only watch the mainstream media, you might think that Saddam Hussein’s trial is not only unique because of the defendant, but also because of the charges. After all, how often do you hear of someone facing genocide and crimes against humanity charges?
Like much of the media in this country, however, the approach to journalism has less to do with informing and more to do with selling papers — Saddam is a sensational character that repeatedly defies judges in headline grabbing ways. It also gives a slight nod of accomplishment to our failed policies in Iraq (a dim happy note behind the cacophony of disgust).
Yet, throughout Saddam’s trial, there have been dozens of verdicts against genocide perpetrators and accomplishes that have gone completely unreported.
Aloys Simba (Oct 2, 2006)
Found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
Paul Bisengimana (Oct 1, 2006)
Sentenced to 15 years of prison after having pleaded guilty.
Momcilo Krajisnik (Sept 27, 2006)
Sentenced to 27 years imprisonment.
Biljana Plavsic (Sept 27, 2006)
Biljana Plavsic was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment and is serving her sentence in Sweden.
Tharcisse Muvunyi (Sept 12, 2006)
Muvunyi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for genocide.
Radislav Krstic (June 22, 2006)
Sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
Mikaeli Muhimana (April 28, 2006)
Sentenced to life in prison.
Elizaphan Ntakirutimana (April 27, 2006)
Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for genocide. Ntakirutimana was a pastor with the Seventh Day Adventists and was arrested in Texas and extradited in 1996.
Keep in mind this is a mere snapshot from two of the busiest tribunals (Rwanda and Yugoslavia), neither of which are receiving even a tenth of the press coverage that Saddam’s trial is currently fueling.
Did Saddam commit acts (or an act) of genocide? Sure he did. We don’t even need to ask, cause he was our ally against Iran when he did it, and we gladly sold him arms throughout the entire campaign (not unlike France did in Rwanda). The point is, genocidal leaders have been on trial continuously throughout Saddam’s trial, without so much as a mumble from the press.
In fact, key architects in the Rwandan and Yugoslavian genocides (eighteen and six respectively) remain at large today. The press doesn’t cover that either.