“Saddam Hussein was a ruthless criminal, but it was wrong to kill him”

Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Strasbourg, 30.12.2006 - ”The trial of Saddam Hussein was a missed opportunity in a country which does not have many opportunities. It was an opportunity for Iraq to join the civilised world. The former Iraqi dictator was a ruthless criminal who deserved to be punished, but it was wrong to kill him. Saddam Hussein is no longer paying for his crimes; he is simply dead, while ordinary Iraqis continue to face their daily ordeal of violence and chaos. What they need is justice, reconciliation and peace, not hangings and revenge. The death penalty is cruel and barbaric, and I call on the Iraqi authorities to abolish it. It is late, but not too late, for Iraq to join the great majority of civilised and democratic countries in the world who have already abolished the death penalty.”