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BREAKING NEWS ~ Saddam trial judge assassinated

[JURIST] FOX News is reporting that the Iraqi Special Tribunal [governing statute] judge overseeing the lagal proceedings against Saddam Hussein has been assassinated. Raid Juhi al-Saadi,35, was reportedly gunned down outside his home in Baghdad. He had already survived several assassination attempts and had recently moved into a special walled compound with his family that had been hardened against attacks.

In August 2004 New York Times reporter John Burns wrote in a feature article [registration required] that "If Raid Juhi al-Saadi is not the world's most endangered judge, he must be close." In a 2004 op-ed [reprint] in the Houston Chronicle, Case Western University law professor Michael Scharf, who has been involved in helping to train the Iraqi judiciary for war crimes prosecutions, similarly wrote of the dangers facing al-Saadi and his colleagues:

The tribunal's judges have risked their lives by accepting their commission, thus demonstrating the sort of courage needed to make fair decisions. Most impressive among those I met was Raid Juhi al-Saadi, the 35-year-old judge who presided over Saddam's initial appearance before the tribunal in June. Because of the extensive media coverage of that event, the judge has become perhaps the most recognized face in Iraq, next to that of Saddam's. The judge told me that he was given the option of not having his face shown on camera during the proceedings, but that he did not want the tribunal to be subject to the type of criticism that has been leveled at courts in Peru and Chile where judges wore hoods. He was willing to put his personal safety at risk to show the "face of Iraqi justice" and the tribunal's commitment to fairness.

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