Enemy of the State
The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein
by Michael A. Newton and Michael P. Scharf
A work of non-fiction written like a novel. A page-turner brimming with illuminating anecdotes, this remarkable account will leave you stunned.
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.
Reviews for Enemy of the State
“Enemy of the State is a must read for
JAGs, U.S. citizens, and especially Western lawyers who need to realize that the
world does justice in many sorts of ways, and we need not think it must be the
way in which we practice and have been schooled. What is important is justice
based on due process and accountability for criminal acts. It’s a shame that the
news agencies and the human rights organizations who scoffed at the trial have
not retracted their disparaging comments. The trial was more than Hussein
expected, and it was a lot more than the world thought occurred. The JAG Corps:
helping to bring justice to one tyrant at a time.”
--Richard B. Davis, Jr., The Florida Bar Journal, January 2010 (pg.54)
(Read full review) (pdf file)
“In Enemy of the State, Michael Newton
and Michael Scharf have gone a long
way toward capturing the challenges, the aspirations, and the shortcomings
of the trial of Saddam Hussein. Newton, a professor at Vanderbilt University
Law School, and Scharf, a professor at Case Western Reserve University Law
School, have written a book that fills an important gap in the literature by
recording the key daily events in the trial and by assessing the underlying
legal issues. Their book stands as the first credible attempt to record the
trial's history. . The end result of Newton and Scharf's efforts is clear.
They have assembled the most definitive and authoritative account of the
Dujail trial yet available. By providing comprehensive timelines and
summaries of each trial day, with accompanying legal and factual
commentaries that place the Dujail trial in its proper historical context,
Enemy of the State should serve as a starting point for any serious
or practitioner who wishes to understand the goals, aspirations, and
failures of that trial.”
--American Journal of International Law, 397-402 (April 2009)
(Read full review) (pdf file)
“Enemy of the State is a good and easy read for lawyers and laypeople alike. Its pages provide a detailed and accurate historical record of one of the most controversial criminal tribunals of our time. In doing so, it is a most valuable resource.”
--From Duke Magazine. Written by Scott Silliman, Professor of the Practice of Law at Duke University School of Law, and Executive Director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security. (Read full review) (pdf file)
"The story of the Hussein trial, from the creation of the tribunal through Hussein's conviction and execution, is told in Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein by Vanderbilt law school's Michael Newton and my colleague Michael Scharf. Both participated in the development of the tribunal. As a consequence, the book offers a detailed, inside account of the court's creation and its proceedings, including gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial itself and legal analysis of its decision. The book offers many insights and revelations omitted by contemporary media accounts, and places the tribunal in its broader international law context."
--The Volokh Conspiracy Blog (Read full review)
"When Saddam was being tried in Baghdad, no one needed to issue orders for a curfew, as the people remained at home, their eyes glued to the televisions. 'Enemy of the State,' a book authored by Newton and Scharf, has the same effect on readers. The book is a chronicle of the trial and a behind-the-scenes account of its goings-on - where the phrase 'one of the most important chaotic trials in history' seems to become an understatement."
--Gulf News, book review of "Enemy of the State," October 24, 2008, at p. 24
Read full review (pdf file)
“Enemy of the State gives us an incomparably immediate view of one of the liveliest episodes in recent Middle Eastern history: the capture, the trial, and the execution of Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein. Authors Newton and Scharf have so vividly described the courtroom dramatics that readers will feel themselves a witness to Saddam Hussein’s swagger. A page-turner with fast-paced action that reads like a novel, this book is sure to satisfy the casual reader and history enthusiasts alike.”
--Jean Sasson, New York Times bestselling author of The Rape of Kuwait; and international bestseller, Mayada, Daughter of Iraq
"A masterful blend of first-rate historical writing that provides both provocative and penetrating analysis. This work is an authoritative account of the Saddam Hussein trial. No journalist, historian or political scientist who writes about this chapter in history will be able to ignore it."
--Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the Yugoslavia Tribunal
“A timely, dramatic, and unflinchingly honest account, filled with perceptive insights. A goldmine for historians. This is far more than the story of a trial – it is a metaphor for our common struggle to build the rule of law around the world.”
--David Crane, former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
“Both Newton and Scharf are internationally renowned criminal law experts. They once again prove their expertise in this superbly written and insightful chronicle of the Saddam Hussein trial. Enemy of the State offers a window into this extraordinary trial, shedding new light on almost every aspect of the proceedings. This book will add immensely to the understanding and promotion of international justice.”
--Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association
“The United States helped set up the tribunal that tried Saddam Hussein, but lost control of key aspects that helped turn it into what the authors call one of the messiest trials in judicial history. The authors, both insiders who helped train the Iraqi judges, chart the mistakes, missteps and misconceptions surrounding the trial and offer a valuable day to day account with a discussion of the legal theories and practice underpinning the key decisions.”
--Roy Gutman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
"The trial of Saddam Hussein will likely be remembered as one of the 'messiest' in legal history, according to Newton and Scharf, American legal scholars who helped write the rules of the Iraqi High Tribunal. After highlighting Iraq's long and esteemed history of recognizing the rule of law, Newton and Scharf detail the internal and international tensions that pushed and pulled the process of restoring the justice system after the tall of the Ba'athist regime. The trial focused on the complete destruction of the town of Dujail after an alleged assassination attempt on Saddam. Newton and Scharf set the stage of the legal drama: Saddam, confident--even arrogant--carrying a Qur'an to court each day; the chief prosecutor, who achieved rock-star status with the public; and a no-nonsense judge. They go on to detail Saddam's outbursts, hunger strikes, boycotts, and walkouts, forcing the judge to choose between letting Saddam rant and challenge the legitimacy of the court or restraining him and risking accusations that the court was a sham. Making comparisons to Nuremberg and other trials of infamous regimes, Newton and Scharf highlight the legal implications of the trial, including international debate on the death penalty. Although written by legal scholars, this book will have wide appeal among readers hungry for details about a hugely important trial."
"Law professors Newton and Scharf recount their involvement in the trial of Saddam Hussein, from the Iraqis’ iconic removal of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdus Square in April 2003 to the deposed leader’s chaotic hanging. Newton and Scharf helped write the rules of the Iraqi High Tribunal for the trial, giving them an insiders’ view of the case. They candidly summarize the difficulties posed to courts and lawyers intent on bringing Hussein’s crimes to light and exposing him to fair and unbiased judgment. Most illuminating is the day-by-day recounting of the tensest period of the trial, in a chapter aptly titled 'Disorder in the Courtroom.' They admit that the trial was 'both revolutionary in its aspiration and at times rudimentary in its applications.' Readers interested in the future of global jurisprudence will find much to ponder in this frank and detailed account."
"Semi-insiders’ account of how fallen president Saddam Hussein ended up being tried by the Iraqi High Tribunal in Baghdad and executed on Dec. 30, 2006.
Scharf (Law/Case Western Reserve) previously worked at the U.S. State Department, where he helped devise the mechanisms for prosecuting heads of state including Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia’s Charles Taylor. Newton (Law/Vanderbilt Univ.), a West Point graduate, later taught at the U.S. Military Academy and also worked for the State Department as an advisor on war crimes. Both of them spent time in Iraq helping train the judges who would preside at the trials of Hussein and dozens of lesser-known Iraqi officials complicit in his regime. Those attempting to rule Iraq after the U.S. government intervened wanted advice on the means for determining consequences of Hussein’s regime for the tyrant himself. The focal point of the narrative is the town of Dujail, where a 1982 attack on Hussein’s visiting convoy led to retribution that included the execution of at least 148 Dujail residents. Those deaths formed the basis of the prosecution against Hussein after his capture by U.S. military forces on Dec. 13, 2003. Newton and Scharf explain to the best of their ability what really occurred at Dujail, as well as the significance of evidence about that event in determining Hussein’s fate. Throughout the book, they emphasize the importance of nations operating under the rule of law to punish those who have ignored or flouted both national and international laws. They defend Hussein’s trial against a highly critical report published by Human Rights Watch, noting that the trial was televised 'gavel-to-gavel' in Iraq and that the judge had to deal with 'a defendant and his lawyers whose trial strategy was to be as disruptive as possible.' Because the narrative relies on numerous obscure legal concepts and practices, the authors wisely include a glossary.
Often technical, but always educational, explaining how nations invent forums to reckon with extraordinary evil."
"Newton and Scharf are noted experts on international war crimes and former advisers to the U.S. Department of State. They provided judicial assistance to the trial of Saddam Hussein and other Ba'athists, including training of judicial personnel, writing rules for the Iraqi Tribunal, and observing the nine-month trial proceedings. Here, they write of their experiences and provide perspective on the trial, which began in October 2005, including gavel-to-gavel coverage of the proceedings. The Iraqi High Tribunal was a newly formed court, and its base of authority was a complex mixture of Iraqi law, international law, and trial law. The authors examine how this tribunal sought to develop its credibility with the Iraqi people, a task complicated by the defense team's efforts to delegitimize the legal process at almost every stage. They also often effectively draw analogies between this trial and trials before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg after World War II. Their insiders' account is directed toward general adult audiences and will effectively aid them in understanding this crucial phase as Iraq struggles toward its future. Recommended for major public and university libraries."
--School Library Journal
"It’s been two years since Saddam Hussein’s conviction and execution for killing 148 Iraqis in the town of Dujail, and until now, the true history of that trial was largely unwritten. Distortions and accusations, by contrast, have been common; recently, for example, critics have renewed allegations that the Iraqi High Tribunal (the process set up to adjudicate the culpability of Saddam and his henchmen for crimes against humanity) failed to provide adequate due-process rights. The criticism is clear and familiar: Saddam’s trial was unfair, tainted by torture and political influence, and failed to meet the standards advocated by human-rights groups and our more sensible European allies. This narrative, coupled with an unending stream of conspiracy theories, provides a perfectly timed platform for the release of the book Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein."
--Gregory S. McNeal, National Review Online read full review (pdf file)
"Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein tells a vivid story of the creation of the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT), the trial of Iraq’s former despot, and his infamous execution. Enemy’s accurate details are commensurate with one’s expectations for a book written by world-renowned legal scholars like Vanderbilt’s LTC (Ret.) Michael A. Newton (USMA, ’84 and USMA Dept. of Law 2002-2005) and Case Western Reserve’s Michael P. Scharf. Experts in the field, Newton had served as senior legal advisor to the U.S. Ambassador for War Crimes and Scharf as a State Department attorney deeply involved in the establishment of the Yugoslavia Tribunal prior to being asked to assist with this “Mother of all Trials.” As such, the authors bring a wealth of academic and practical experience to this detailed work of non-fiction. Whether speaking about the behind-the-scene politics involved in drafting the tribunal’s rules, recording the daily trial proceedings, or assessing the trial’s ultimate impact on history, the authors document this vital piece of history for an English-speaking audience in a way few others could. Speaking from their perspective as sometimes-insiders and arms-length observers, the authors’ visibility of the legal process towers over the limited TV coverage reported by English-language media outlets at the time of trial. Newton and Scharf describe the inherent difficulty in upholding international humanitarian norms while respecting Iraq’s rich judicial history. Not merely a record of trial reserved for legal cognoscenti, Enemy comes alive with the authors’ ability to weave colorful facts and eyewitness accounts into the rich tapestry of the book. Enemy is non-fiction that reads like a novel. The authors set the scene and bring the characters to life. Enemy takes you inside the Green Zone, and provides the reader with a personal introduction to Iraqi lawyers, judges, and defendants. It unveils tensions between well-meaning Western legal experts and Iraqi jurists proud of their own rich legal history dating back to Hammurabi. It shows the cult of personality that surround the deposed Saddam and other Baath party officials, even as they are reduced to criminal defendants who complain about insufficient cigarettes. It highlights the dangerous work done by Iraqi judges and court-appointed defense attorneys, and it details the lack of decorum at Saddam’s execution. Finally, Enemy of the State places the IHT, with its successes and flaws, in a historical context. The fast-moving novel-like work of nonfiction is destined to enlighten both academics and casual readers, who can find additional information on the book at www.enemyofthestatebook.com."
--Captain Nathan Jacobs, Assistant Professor and Executive Officer, USMA Department of Law
Enemy of the State
The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein
by Michael A. Newton and Michael P. Scharf
Published by St. Martin's Press
On Sale: 9/16/2008
Trim: 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
320 pages, Plus one 8-page b&w photo insert
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