BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – The chief judge overseeing the Saddam Hussein trial has no plans to step down, and a news report suggesting that he will is “baseless,” another judge on the Saddam tribunal said saturday.
Rizgar Mohammed Amin, the presiding judge of a five-judge tribunal overseeing the Saddam case, has no plans to step down before the completion of the trial, two judges told The Associated Press Saturday.
A recent news report citing an anonymous source close to the judge said he would hear one more session of the trial and then resign.
One of the judges who spoke to AP sits on the five-judge panel with Amin hearing the Saddam trial. The second judge is on the committee that will likely hear the next case against Saddam concerning the Anfal Offensive that killed some 180,000 Kurds. Both judges spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The judge on the committee studying the Anfal case told AP that Amin wasn’t likely to serve for that trial because a five-judge panel has already been selected and is studying the case.
The Saddam trial, which began in October, will resume Jan. 24. Amin is a Kurd who before the Saddam trial was virtually unknown outside his home region. He heads the panel of five judges who are both hearing the Saddam case and will render a verdict in the trial.
The names of the other four judges have not been released, and only two other judges have allowed their faces to be shown by courtroom television cameras.
Amin has been criticized for allowing Saddam to grandstand at the trial. U.S. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, met with Amin in late December and told him to take stronger control of the proceeding.
Saddam has often grabbed the spotlight during his trial on mass murder charges for killings in Dujail in 1982 in retaliation for an assassination attempt. He has railed at the judge, refused to show up at one session, claimed he was tortured and openly prayed in court when the judge would not allow a recess.