Saddam genocide trial resumes with testimony from Kurdish witness Joshua Pantesco at 8:48 AM ET
[JURIST] Saddam Hussein's genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC timeline] continued Monday in Baghdad as a witness for the prosecution testified that troops under Hussein's command bulldozed her family into a mass grave. The woman was 13 during the alleged 1988 atrocities, living in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. She further testified that after the mass burials, she was taken to Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, where the women were separated from male family members before imprisonment and forced to shower naked in front of Iraqi troops.
The testimony was heard despite the continued defense team boycott [JURIST report] over the replacement of the original trial judge in the case. Judge Abdullah al-Amiri, the initial judge who presided over the trial, was replaced at the urging of the Iraqi government [JURIST report] for saying that Hussein was "not a dictator." Before resuming Monday, the trial had been adjourned to give defendants time to instruct court-appointed counsel on the details of their case, or to persuade their own lawyers to end the boycott.
Hussein faces genocide charges [JURIST report] for the 1988 deaths of 180,000 Kurdish villagers in the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder]. He also faces separate crimes against humanity charges [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. The verdict in the Dujail case had been scheduled to be handed down next week but has been delayed [JURIST report]. AFP has more.
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