A French lawyer [Jacques Verges] known for his notorious clients said on Monday he would be ready to defend Saddam Hussein and that the former Iraqi leader must be presumed innocent at any trial.
I understand we’re supposed to presume innocence at trials. But some things are better left unsaid. I’d wonder if Mr. Verges feels embarrassed to say it, but he did defend Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon.
If [Saddam] is judged and treated like a pariah, clearly his defence counsel would have to say ‘but this pariah was the friend of all the Western heads of state. He was not only their friend but their ally.’
This is true, and it’s an excellent reason to let Iraqis try him themselves. Long ago Saddam Hussein was an ally of the United States, as well as an ally of the rest of the Western countries. The French government stuck by his side even after the Gulf War, and even after September 11. Make your case, Mr. Verges. Baghdad needs to know what Paris has been up to.