By Madhuri Gautam:
Back in 2003, when a coalition of countries led by the United States and the United Kingdom invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, the people of Iraq must have dreamt of a democratic and just government, a peaceful administration- one where they would live without the fear of dictatorial tormenting. Almost a decade has passed since the capture of the Sunni president, yet there seems no sign of political stability and just governance. Even after the establishment of the so-called democratic setup, the people of Iraq are still living in constant fear and their dream of peaceful and just governance seems to be far-fetched.
Can the deposition of Saddam Husain’s regime, really be termed as deposition of dictatorship from Iraq? I will say, certainly not, considering the appalling level of executions in Iraq. As per Iraq’s Justice Ministry, there were ninety-six executions so far in 2012, with another hundred and ninety six people on death row. More than 1,200 people are believed to have been sentenced to death in Iraq since 2004, according to the United Nations. To me, it just seems to be a reversal of role. Back in 2003 it was a Sunni led government which mainly targeted the Shia community whereas today it is a Shia led government which is particularly targeting the Sunni community on framed charges. Clandestine court procedures, lack of transparency with regard to law on capital punishment and the wide scope of awarding capital punishment are helping the current regime to carry out these state sanctioned executions in the name of law and justice. In the name of democracy, Iraq has already started on the path of another dictatorial regime; it is a stark mockery of a democratic setup.
Though the current trend of executions has raised a global alarm and has drawn criticism from people around the world, an inter-nation intervention seems to be the need of the hour, particularly from the United Nations. In my view it is also the responsibility of the United States led coalition, which invaded Iraq in 2003, to ensure that the future of Iraq is in safe hands, because, it was only with their help that the new government came into being. They must look beyond the vested interests of oil to realize their moral responsibility. The lack of transparency in the court proceedings and the very wide range of offences for which the death penalty can be imposed in Iraq, in a country where confessions that may have been coerced are often, the only evidence against a person, make it crucial for Iraq to declare an immediate moratorium on executions.