Saddam Hussein, Justice and Fairness

You are here

Saddam Hussein, Justice and Fairness

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Iraq's deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi court on November 5. Specifically, Hussein was convicted for the 1982 torture and murder of 148 people in a single Shiite town in retribution for an attempt on his life there. About 50 of the 148 died during interrogation before they could be executed. Some of those hanged were children.

Six subordinates of Hussein were also sentenced—two received the death penalty, one received life imprisonment, three received up to 15 years in prison. A seventh one was acquitted for lack of evidence, concluding the emotional nine-month trial during which three defense lawyers and one witness were murdered.

The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel, which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days. The executions would not be delayed even if Saddam is in the midst of a second trial for allegedly slaughtering about 5,000 Kurds in a chemical weapons attack on the town of Halabja in March 1988.

"It's not fair!" is being heard from countless people for seemingly countless reasons. Saddam supporters proclaim the whole trial was unjust and rigged by the Western "invaders and occupiers." Some people and governments think that any death penalty is unfair. The families of an estimated 2 million executed Iraqis feel they will be cheated of any future opportunity to make their charges in court and hear the resultant sentences.

However, many throughout the world feel that any form of legal execution will be far less than what this brutal tyrant deserves. Some wish that Saddam could die as many deaths as the number he caused. Others wish he could be tortured in the multiple ways he had their associates tortured. If the hanging is private, many Iraqis will be dissatisfied and may question whether he really died.

These predictable reactions merely illustrate the many limitations, flaws and failures of the world's criminal justice systems. Some who are guilty of crimes are never arrested, or never indicted, or never sentenced, or merely receive a slap on the wrist. On the other hand, sometimes innocent people are convicted and minor offences are punished with overly harsh sentences.

Legal and judicial systems often are more concerned with procedures and technicalities than with determinations of guilt or innocence. Attitudes of the heart, motives and remorse are not always taken into consideration the way God would. Good deeds go unrewarded much too often. Life is not always fair.

People even accuse God of being unfair, especially when they see the wicked enjoying pleasure while the righteous suffer. But God replies, "... is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?" (Ezekiel 18:29). All of Ezekiel 18 is enlightening on this subject.

Our views tend to be very shortsighted compared to God's vision. In the long run, goodness will be compensated and evil will be punished. God is working diligently to save us from the ultimate punishment of eternal death. He desires "that all should come to repentance" so He can forgive and save them (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).

Sometimes God disciplines us, out of tough love, to get us on the right track (Hebrews 12:5-11). Thankfully, "Christ died for our sins" so there can be justice and forgiveness at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:3).

The Bible contains many prophecies related not only to man's terrible injustice but also to Christ's second coming to bring a peaceful world (Isaiah 59:4-20) governed "with judgment and justice…forever" (Isaiah 9:7).

Disciples of Jesus Christ must be willing to love and forgive anyone. But until Christ returns, the New Testament teaches that there is a need for human government to attempt to maintain law and order and justice (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:11-20). However, humanity will have only limited success until Jesus Christ comes to teach His standards of fairness and to administer perfect, godly justice. God will make all things, including today's suffering and unfairness, work together for our good in the long run. Then life will be fair!

I recommend two booklets that will greatly expand you understanding of this complex issue of justice and fairness from a biblical perspective. Just request or download your free copies of: Why Does God Allow Suffering? and What is Your Destiny?

You might also be interested in...