At 12:21 p.m., on October 19, 2005, Saddam Hussein was escorted into the Courtroom of the Iraqi High Tribunal in Baghdad for one of the most important and chaotic trials in history. For a year, two American law professors had led an elite team of experts who prepared the judges and prosecutors for “the mother of all trials.” Michael Scharf, a former State Department official who helped create the Yugoslavia Tribunal in 1993, and Michael Newton, then a professor at West Point, would confront such issues as whether the death penalty should apply, how to run a fair trial when political and military passions run so high, and which of Saddam’s many crimes should be prosecuted.Newton was in Baghdad in December 2003 when the Tribunal was announced and Saddam was captured. In the following months, Scharf and Newton helped write the rules of the Tribunal, conducted a mock trial in (perhaps appropriately) Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and provided legal analysis on dozens of issues. Newton then returned to Baghdad several times during the trial and appeal. Now, from its two shapers, comes the fascinating inside story of the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein and the attempt to bring the rule of law to post-invasion Iraq.
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Michael A. Newton is a West Point graduate who serves as Professor of the Practice of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School. During his distinguished military career, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Newton served in both the Clinton and Bush administrations as Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State, where he played a key role in negotiating the Statutes of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Elements of Crimes for the International Criminal Court. Newton advised Iraqi jurists as they drafted the Statute for the Iraqi High Tribunal, provided training to the Tribunal’s judges, and shuttled back and forth to Baghdad to provide assistance to the judges during the trial of Saddam Hussein.Michael P. Scharf is Professor of Law and Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. As Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs at the U.S. Department of State during the elder Bush and Clinton administrations, Scharf was instrumental in the establishment of the Yugoslavia Tribunal. In February 2005, Scharf and the Public International Law and Policy Group, an NGO he cofounded, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by six governments and the Prosecutor of an International Criminal Tribunal for the work they have done to help in the prosecution of major war criminals, including Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and Saddam Hussein.
Michael A. NewtonMichael P. Scharf