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Saddam trial resumes after critical UN report

[JURIST] The Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] resumed in Baghdad Sunday without any disruptions as three co-defendants took the stand to testify about the killings of 142 Shiites in the Iraqi town of Dujail after a failed 1982 attempt on Hussein's life. It was the first session of the proceeding since March 1, when Saddam denied he had committed any crime [JURIST report] connected with the deaths. Former Baath party officials Mizhar Abullah Ruwayyid, his father Abdullah Ruwayyid and Ali Daih Ali all testified Sunday, likewise insisting on their innocence. Iraqi High Criminal Court chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said Saturday that he hoped to question Saddam Hussein himself [AP report] later this week. All the members of Hussein's defense team, including chief lawyer Khalil Dulaimi and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, were in court Sunday to hear the testimony of the co-accused. After some four hours of statements, the trial was adjourned until Monday. AP has more.

Meanwhile the Iraqi trial process continues to be the object of international criticism. On Friday Argentinean Leandro Despouy, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers [official website], slammed the Saddam tribunal once again [JURIST report] in his latest report to the UN Human Rights Commission, pointing out what he called its "notorious failings", including security problems. Despouy called for the appointment of an international tribunal set up in co-operation with the UN. The UN has refused to support the current proceeding, in part because of concerns about partiality and the prospect of the death penalty against convicted defendants. AFP has more.

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