Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity for ordering the torture and mass-murder of 148 people in the village of Dujail. Along with two other co-defendants, he has been sentenced to death by hanging.
While I agree with the verdict, its more an accident than the product of a robust judicial process. Unlike the Nazis, Milosovic, or the genocideres of Rwanda, Saddam did not receive a fair trial according to basic international standards. Instead, he was paraded before a kangaroo court, with deliberately lowered standards of evidence and judges who were forced to resign if they tried to ensure the defence could put their side of the case. This farcical process (made even more farcical by Saddam's antics in the courtroom) has undermined the credibility of the verdict, and will allow Saddam's followers to forever claim that he was a victim of "victor's justice". And sadly, they won't be entirely wrong.
As for the sentence, while there would be a rich irony in Saddam suffering the same fate he inflicted on so many others, that would not be justice. Instead, it would simply be barbaric revenge, of exactly the sort Saddam inflicted upon the hapless residents of Dujail. While the desire for it is human and understandable, the act itself is nothing more than sadism, inflicting pain and death solely for the pleasure it gives. That is the ethical system of a kitten-strangling psychopath, not a civilised human being.
It is wrong to kill. It is especially wrong to kill for pleasure. Not even Saddam deserves to die in this way. Instead, he should be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life. That's a perfectly sufficient punishment for his actions - and one that shows that we are not at all like him.