Saddam thrown out of court for third consecutive time

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] was thrown out of court Tuesday for the third time [JURIST report] by new chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the genocide trial [JURIST news archive] after the former chief judge was removed by the Iraqi government [JURIST report] last week. Oreibi opened Tuesday's hearing by telling Saddam that he would have to "behave" and then allowed him to read a 20-minute statement while the microphones to the press gallery were disabled. Two Kurdish witnesses testified next amidst vocal arguments by Saddam; the judge said he would not tolerate that and ejected Saddam from the courtroom. After a recess, the trial resumed but none of Saddam's six co-defendants returned to the courtroom, marking the first time in this trial that all the defendants have been absent from the courtroom at once. A court spokesman said afterwards that the other defendants had similarly been ejected.

Lawyers defending Saddam and his cohorts have been boycotting the trial [JURIST report] since Oreibi took over as chief judge last week. International legal rights groups have said the replacement may harm the credibility of the trial in which Saddam faces genocide charges [JURIST report] for the 1988 deaths of 180,000 Kurdish villagers in the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder]. A verdict is also expected next month in Saddam's previous trial for crimes against humanity [JURIST report] in connection with the murder, torture and illegal arrest of hundreds of people in Dujail as part of a crackdown in the town after an assassination attempt on Hussein's life. In that case he is eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

3:35 PM ET - The trial has now been adjourned for two weeks until October 9 to provide time for the defendants to instruct court-appointed counsel or persuade their own lawyers to end their boycott of the proceedings. AP has more.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.