BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer walked out of court on Monday after presenting demands to end a boycott of the toppled Iraqi president’s genocide trial.
Khalil al-Dulaimi, who has since September been boycotting Saddam’s genocide trial against the Kurds after the government sacked the previous judge, made a brief appearance in a Baghdad courtroom to present a list of 12 demands.
They included an investigation into allegations that one of Saddam’s co-defendants was beaten up by his prison guards last month and that the court allow defence counsel to have Arab and foreign lawyers in court. He also demanded a probe into documents he said went missing in the lawyers’ Green Zone office.
Chief judge Mohammed al-Ureybi, who took over the case in September, said Arab and foreign lawyers could only attend as advisors. Dulaimi then walked out of courtroom and the proceedings continued with a court-appointed lawyer.
Before Dulaimi made his demands, Ureybi interrupted him for addressing Saddam as “my president”. “There is no president in this court except for the president of this court,” the judge said. “There is no law that prevents me from calling my president as my president.
The defense team insist on calling him (Saddam ) as the president,” Dulaimi said.
Saddam, his cousin “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid, and five other Iraqi commander are on trial for their roles in the 1988 Anfal (Spoil of War) campaign against ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq which prosecutors says killed 180,000 people.
Saddam is awaiting a verdict for a separate trial for the killing of Shi’ite villagers, a ruling which carries the maximum penalty of death by hanging.
A verdict is expected by Nov. 5 — two days before U.S. elections in which President George W. Bush’s Republicans fear they could lose control of Congress. The chief prosecutor told Reuters on Sunday the verdict could be delayed by a few days.