On February 29 the Iraqi Presidential Council authorized the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majid, a. k. a. Chemical Ali, a cousin of Saddam Hussein’s and a former top official of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party.

The Iraqi people are entitled to justice for crimes committed in the past, there is no question about that. Ali Hassan al-Majid was a leading actor of the genocide-like campaign against Iraqi Kurds in 1988, as well as of the invasion of Kuwait two years later. If only these actions, undeniable and indefensible, warrant severe punishment.

That is why the death penalty would be most inappropriate, like it was with Saddam Hussein and his codefendants in the Dujail trial. Executing dictators and torturers only means more bloodshed, more crime, and, in the end, it comes down to «an eye for an eye», the very opposite of justice.

In this case, executing al-Majid will only make him one of the already numerous ghosts that are bound to haunt the future, near and possibly even distant, of a nation in which dictatorship has been replaced with occupation and blind terror has not ceased to be the law of the land for all that.