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New Saddam chief judge has Baathist ties, official says

[JURIST] The new chief judge in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] is a member of the banned Baath party [BBC profile] and should be replaced, Ali Faisal, executive manager of Iraq's Debaathification Commission [official website], said Wednesday. According to Faisal, the newly appointed Sayeed al-Hamashi, "is the object of a debaathification inquiry." Hamashi, picked by tribunal officials [JURIST report] to preside over the trial after the previous chief judge resigned [JURIST report] last week, has yet to comment publicly on Faisal's remarks. Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, however, told Reuters that, "Hamashi denies having any relationship with the Baath party." The Debaathification Commission was originally set up with the approval of the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority [official website] after Saddam's overthrow in 2003 and is charged with rooting out members of the Baath party from positions of power in the Iraqi government. Meanwhile, in remarks [transcript] Wednesday after meeting victims of Saddam Hussein's regime at the White House, President Bush reiterated his faith in the Hussein trial [Reuters report], asserting that Hussein was a "butcherer" and that he would "get his due justice under rule of law." Reuters has more.

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