New Saddam trial chief judge to stay on despite Baath party allegations

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Criminal Court (IHCC) (formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]) confirmed Thursday that Sayeed al-Hamashi, who was selected to preside over the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] on Monday, will retain his position despite allegations that he belonged to the banned Baath party [BBC backgrounder]. Ali Faisal, executive manager of Iraq's Debaathification Commission [official website], said Wednesday that the commission is conducting an inquiry into Hamashi's alleged ties and called for his removal from the position of chief judge. Hamashi was selected to replace Rizgar Amin [Wikipedia profile], who resigned [JURIST report] from the post last week. Judge Raid Jouhi, spokesperson for the IHCC, supported Hamashi and challenged the Commission to back up its claims with evidence. The trial resumes on January 24 with Hamashi scheduled to preside. Hamashi is expected to remain as chief judge if Amin's resignation is officially accepted by the Iraqi government. Reuters has more.

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