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Saddam thrown out of court after new judge appointed in Kurdish genocide trial

[JURIST] Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa was appointed Wednesday to preside over the second Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive], replacing Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri who was removed at the Iraqi government's insistence [JURIST report] on Tuesday. Defense lawyers walked out of the court in protest of the replacement, and Hussein was later ordered to be removed from the court room after a heated exchange with al-Khalifa over Hussein's rejection of court-appointed lawyers. The court continued with business after Hussein's removal, as Kurdish witnesses took the stand to continue testifying about the chemical attacks that took placed during the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder].

Al-Amiri was removed Tuesday because the Iraqi government believed he had "lost his neutrality." Hussein and his co-defendants are all charged with crimes against humanity [JURIST report] and Hussein and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid [BBC profile], known as "Chemical Ali," also face charges of genocide. Hussein is currently awaiting a verdict in the Dujail crimes against humanity case [JURIST report] for which he is eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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