Reaction to Saddam's execution
George Bush, US president
Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror.
Margaret Beckett, foreign secretary, on behalf of the British government
I welcome the fact that Saddam Hussein has been tried by an Iraqi court for at least some of the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people.
He has now been held to account. The British government does not support the use of the death penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else. We advocate an end to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime.
We have made our position very clear to the Iraqi authorities, but we respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation.
Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie
We wanted him to be executed on a special day.
Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper
The timing of this execution [during the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha] is an affront to all Arabs and Muslims. It is an act of scorn against a great religion by the United States and the Iraqi government.
Arab public opinion wonders who deserves to be tried and executed: Saddam Hussein who preserved the unity of Iraq, its Arab and Islamic identity and the coexistence of its different communities such as Shias and Sunnis ... or those who engulfed the country into this bloody civil war.
Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch
The test of a government's commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders. History will judge these actions harshly.
Hamid Reza Asefi, deputy Iranian foreign minister
The people of Iraq are the victor in the issue of Saddam's hanging, just as they were the main victor in his fall.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi
A capital punishment is always tragic news, a reason for sadness, even if it deals with a person who was guilty of grave crimes.
The position of the Church [against capital punishment] has been restated often. The killing of the guilty party is not the way to reconstruct justice and reconcile society.
On the contrary, there is a risk that it will feed a spirit of vendetta and sow new violence.
In these dark times for the Iraqi people, one can only hope that all responsible parties truly make every effort so that glimmers of reconciliation and peace can be found in such a dramatic situation.
The world will know that Saddam Hussein lived honestly, died honestly, and maintained his principles. He did not lie when he declared his trial null.
John Howard, Australian prime minister
I believe there is something quite heroic about a country that is going through the pain and the suffering that Iraq is going through, yet still extends due process to somebody who was a tyrant and brutal suppressor and murderer of his people.
That is the mark of a country that is trying against fearful odds to embrace democracy.
Saturday December 30, 2006