The Corner

You, Saddam? A Dictator? Naaahhh …

This doesn’t sound good.  From the AP (via the NYTimes), reporting on the latest Saddam trial in Iraq (over the killing of 180,000 Kurds in Anfal):

The chief judge in Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial said Thursday that he does not believe Saddam was a dictator. Judge Abdullah al-Amiri made the remark in a friendly exchange with the deposed leader, a day after the prosecution said the judge should step down because he is biased toward the defense. Saddam and his co-defendants are being tried on charges of committing atrocities against Kurds in northern Iraq nearly two decades ago.

Questioning a Kurdish witness Thursday, Saddam said, ‘’I wonder why this man wanted to meet with me, if I am a dictator?’’ The judge interrupted: ‘’You were not a dictator. People around you made you (look like) a dictator.’’  ‘’Thank you,’’ Saddam responded, bowing his head in respect.

 

Al-Amiri heads the five-judge panel that oversees the trial and will deliver the verdict. A Shiite Muslim in his mid-50s, he has been a judge for 25 years, serving a substantial portion of that time under Saddam’s regime. The panel will vote on guilt or innocence and a majority decision will be final.

 

Saddam lashed out Tuesday against what he called ‘’agents of Iran and Zionism’’ and vowed to ‘’crush your heads’’ after listening to Kurdish witnesses tell of the horrors allegedly committed by his fallen regime. The next day, Chief Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon demanded al-Amiri step down, accusing him of bias toward the deposed leader and his co-defendants. ‘’You allowed this court to become a political podium for the defendants,’’ al-Faroon told al-Amiri. The prosecutor said the judge was giving Saddam time to make ‘’political’’ statements that were irrelevant to the proceedings.

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