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Chief judge in Saddam trial downplays security concerns

[JURIST] In an interview with Reuters reported Monday, Chief Justice Rizgar Mohammed Amin of the Iraqi High Criminal Court [official website], also known as the Iraqi Special Tribunal, trying Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and his co-defendants played down security concerns despite the assassination of two defense lawyers [JURIST report], the flight of another out of the country [JURIST report], and having more than 30 witnesses too scared to appear in court. Traveling with only two bodyguards because he "doesn't like to show off" - and that only at the behest of his friends - Amin said he has avoided the heavily armed convoys that protect senior officials from suicide bombings and shootings in a country where Hussein's supporters still routinely assassinate their opponents. Amin, the only one of five judges involved in the trial who has publicly revealed his identity, said that "a judge should never be afraid because he defends justice and the law" and that it was inappropriate to "show the faces of the defendants and not the panel of judges." The court's next hearing is scheduled for November 28 [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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