Iraqi tribunal defendants refused right to defend themselves

[JURIST] Iraqi ex-president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] will not be allowed to represent himself at trial, according to new procedural rules adopted by the National Assembly [Wikipedia overview]. Under the new rules adopted late last month, the rights of all defendants appearing before the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] were altered, allowing defendants only to "procure legal counsel of [their choosing]." Under the previous rules in force while the nation was under allied forces control, defendants were allowed to act pro se. It is suspected that the change was prompted as a way to avoid political grandstanding and propaganda that has the potential to delay proceedings and incite further violence in the region. Wednesday's Los Angeles Times has more.

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