European countries have been giving their reaction to the execution. The general line has been that they are against the death penalty, but nonetheless respect Iraq’s decision as that of a sovereign nation. There is also satisfaction he was put on trial.
The Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi was more frank, however: “I’ve not only expressed my unease regarding the death penalty, but also that this execution will only serve to increase tension,” he said. A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said execution “is not the way to rebuild justice and bring about reconciliation”. He also said there was a risk it “might fuel the spirit of vengeance and sow the seeds of new violence”.
“The execution of a capital sentence is always tragic news,” he added. “It is always a motive for sadness, even when the person put to death is one who is guilty of very grave crimes.” An Amnesty International spokesman, James Dyson, said while they campaigned for years to bring Saddam to justice, this was not the answer.
“This execution is deplorable,” he said. “The death penalty is not only something that’s a violation of people’s right to life, but in this case it comes after a clearly flawed trial. Flawed trials and executions were a part of Saddam Hussein’s own rule. “This was Iraq’s opportunity to turn a new chapter, to look at the future, to not carry out this sort of thing, and unfortunately it’s an opportunity that’s been missed.”