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Saddam lawyers continue to boycott genocide trial

[JURIST] Defense lawyers acting for Saddam Hussein in his genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC timeline] again failed to appear in court Wednesday, despite an agreement [JURIST report] with the chief judge allowing them to rejoin the proceedings. The lawyers have been boycotting the trial [JURIST report] to protest the behavior of Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, appointed by the Iraqi government after the original presiding judge was removed [JURIST report] last month for saying in court that Hussein was not a dictator [JURIST report]. Sapa-AFP has more.

In the absence of Saddam's own legal team the genocide trial nonetheless continued Wednesday with witnesses detailing massacres of Kurds during the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder] in the late 1980s which resulted in the deaths of more than 180,000 villagers. One witness, who spoke from behind a curtain, recounted being part of a group which was told they were being moved to a new detention facility, but their convoy stopped in the desert and they were fired upon as the group tried to attack their guards before being killed. The testimony ended with the trial being adjourned until Thursday. AP has more.

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