[JURIST] Raed Juhi [WP profile], the Iraqi judge who presided over the investigative stage of the legal proceedings against ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], said Saturday he was stepping down from that position after the other judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] chose another judge of that court to succeed him. The position of chief investigative judge is subject to annual election. Juhi gave no reason for his replacement, and for security reasons did not name his successor. He indicated that he would nonetheless continue as spokesman for the tribunal and would stay on as a judge. Juhi has been the focus of controversy in the past; he was the first judge to be publicly identified in the Saddam trial, and in 2005 he was one of a number of tribunal officials unsuccessfully targeted for purging [JURIST report] by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi's de-Baathification commission.
The death sentence imposed on Hussein in the Dujail crimes against humanity trial is currently under appeal; Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that he hoped the appeal panel's ruling would be handed down in a few days and that Hussein would be executed next month [AP report]. AP has more.