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Saddam defense demands end to 'farce' of genocide trial

[JURIST] Lawyers for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] called for an end to Saddam's genocide trial [JURIST news archive] in a statement issued Thursday, rejecting the proceeding as nothing more than a "farce" used to "offend the dignity of president Saddam and his comrades." As quoted by AFP, the statement claimed that the "trial has nothing to do with law or with seeking justice, a value which is being crushed down by the invading foreign boots," and referred to the court as a creature of the American-Persian occupation of Iraq." The defense team added that the court is "an instrument in the hands of the politicians and occupiers of Iraq designed to quench the thirst for revenge against the president [Saddam], his comrades and the Iraqi people."

Lawyers defending Saddam and his cohorts have been boycotting the genocide trial [JURIST report] since new chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa took over following last week's removal of the previous chief judge by the Iraqi government [JURIST report]. Saddam faces genocide charges [JURIST report] for the 1988 deaths of 180,000 Kurdish villagers in the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder]. A verdict is also expected next month in Saddam's previous trial for crimes against humanity [JURIST report] in connection with the murder, torture and illegal arrest of hundreds of people in Dujail as part of a crackdown in the town after an assassination attempt on Hussein's life. The trial has been adjourned for two weeks until October 9 to provide time for the defendants to instruct court-appointed counsel or to persuade their own lawyers to end their boycott of the proceedings. AFP has more.

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