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Iraqi court delays verdict in Saddam crimes against humanity case

[JURIST] The verdict in the Dujail crimes against humanity case [JURIST report] against Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] has been postponed despite previous expectations that it would be delivered October 16 [JURIST report], the court trying the case announced Tuesday. The court said it decided to postpone the verdict in order to reserve time "for the judges' review of the evidence." Although a new date to render the verdict has not been determined, an anonymous court official told AP that it could be postponed until as late as the beginning of November. In the Dujail case, Hussein and seven co-defendants are charged 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.

In addition to the Dujail charges, Hussein is currently on trial on separate genocide charges [JURIST report] for the 1988 deaths of 180,000 Kurdish villagers in the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder]. The Anfal 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. AP has more. On Monday, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] announced his opposition [AFP report] to more trials of the ousted Iraqi leader on more charges, stating that "it would be appropriate to conclude it [i.e. the process] and sentence him to whatever sentence they decide to give him."

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