By Jim Garamone
Nov. 5, 2006 – Without the help of American servicemembers, today's verdict against Saddam Hussein would not have been possible, the commander in chief said today in Waco, Texas. President Bush called the trial "a milestone" in Iraq's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law. Today's verdict, he said, represents a major achievement for Iraq's young democracy and its constitutional government.
The Iraqi High Tribunal found Saddam guilty in his actions against the citizens of Dujail, Iraq, and sentenced him to death by hanging.
In the 1982 incident, Saddam ordered the military, Baath Party loyalists and interior department police to arrest, detain and torture men, women and children in the town.
Although the Dujail case was the first against the former dictator to go to trial, he is also charged with genocide against the Kurds in the northern part of Iraq in the 1980s.
Bush emphasized the fairness of the trial and the irony that Saddam received protections that he denied the Iraqi people under his rule. "During the Saddam Hussein trial, the court received evidence from 130 witnesses," Bush said. "The man who once struck fear into the hearts of Iraqis had to listen while free Iraqis recounted the acts of torture and murder that he ordered against their families and against them."
"Today," the president said, "the victims of this regime have received a measure of the justice that many thought would never come."
The former dictator will have an automatic right to appeal his sentence. "He will continue to receive the legal rights and due process that he denied to the Iraqi people," the president said. "Iraq has a lot of work ahead as it builds its society that delivers equal justice and protects all its citizens. Yet history will record today's judgment as an important achievement on the path to a free and just and unified society."
The United States will continue to stand with Iraq's unity government, Bush said. He praised the courage and determination of the Iraqi security forces.
The president thanked the men and women of the U.S. military for their sacrifices to free Iraq and defend America. "Without their courage and skill, today's verdict would not have happened," he said. "On behalf of the American people, I thank every American who wears the uniform. I thank their families and I thank them for their service and their sacrifice."