There is nothing I can write about the execution of Hussein. Just a quick rundown.

  • It was barbarian and even if one is a proponent of capital punishment, sickening to see how totally respectless and chaotic this was. Don’t get me wrong, the guy was the worst of the worst.
  • The trial was a joke by all international law standards and this is exactly why there is a international court in The Hague (disclaimer: I am from the Netherlands), but no, the U.S. government strongly opposing the international court has even adopted a law legalizing invading the Netherlands if U.S. military are held captive for war crimes there.

Three years ago, I blogged elsewhere on capital punishment. Let me copy it here.

As in [as I know] all European Countries, we don’t have capital punishment. As probably all people, once in a while, things happen where my primary response is something like “kill the f%$#@! bastard”. When that primary feeling is over, I am kind of feeling civilized we don’t have a judicial system supporting that. I ran into this site where an immense amount of information is gathered about [US] Death Penalty. As far as I can judge it, it is reasonably unbiased and factual.

Caution: If you decide to follow this link you may find yourself not the greatest supporter anymore. Some items, i.e. “Botched Executions” is most definate not good for the stomach, so here I’ll only post two more “detached” quotes.

Q: Since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S., between 5 and 10 people have been released from death row because they were innocent. A: Incorrect. There have now been over 100 people released from death row with substantial evidence of their innocence. In almost all of these cases, there was a re-trial ending in acquittal, or the state dropped charges after the conviction was thrown out by a higher court.

Despite assistance from the county-supported statewide Capital Crimes Defense Fund, local officials in several Idaho counties are troubled by the economic burden of prosecuting death penalty cases. They are also concerned about a recent federal appellate court ruling that could overturn all existing state death sentences because Idaho’s sentencing procedures were deemed unconstitutional. Cassia County Commissioner Paul Christensen said that in addition to the millions of dollars spent to secure death penalty sentences, it will cost the county an estimated $200,000 each to pursue reimposition of the death penalty in those cases affected by the federal ruling. He said that it costs Idaho taxpayers about $1 million to imprison somebody for life, but a death penalty case may cost five times that. “I think people need to realize the impact it has on our state taxpayers,” said Christensen. Lemhi County Commissioner Robert Cope reported that his county of 7,700 residents could not afford to prosecute a death penalty case even with financial help from the state, and in 1990, Lewis County had to borrow money to pursue a capital conviction. (Idaho Statesman, September 19, 2003)

A note. Johannes van Damme [59] was the last Dutchman executed. He was hanged in Singapore’s Changi prison on the 23rd of September 1994 after what seemed to be undeniable evidence of trafficking about 4 kilograms of hero├»ne, although there is some conspiracy theory. As far as I’ve understood, he was also the second non-Asian ever to be executed there. Years ago I’ve read a detailed proceeding of his last minutes while browsing a book in a bookshop written by the man who supported him. The vivid picture painted in my mind will never go away. When I was in Singapore about two years later, I told the story to the extremely nice couple who drove me me back to Changi Airport [yep, close to the prison, on my request we drove by]. Their response was something like: “He should have been smarter than choosing Singapore as transit”. Well, that does make some sense: on the immigration forms handed out in the aircraft is a little, but clear stamp with only seven green words: Death for drug traffickers under Singapore law. This is the current immigration leaflet [pdf].

More facts about death row in Texas and Federal.