Saddam to go on trial Oct. 19, faces hanging
Saddam's trial is sure to be contentious.
"Of course the whole trial is controlled by America," said one man interviewed in the streets of Baghdad, Hansen Shaheed.
"If America wants him released, he will be released, and if it wants him to stay, he will stay."
On Saturday, Saddam's family selected a new international legal counsel to defend him, saying they would not reveal the counsel's identity for the time being.
Also on Saturday, his chief attorney Khalil Dulaimi dismissed the date of October 19 as "invalid," saying he needed years to study the 36 tonnes of files of evidence against Saddam.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis are thought to have been killed, tortured or executed, under Saddam's rule, including in a gas attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988 which killed around 7,000. Saddam said the attack was aimed at Iranian troops.
But by focusing on the relatively limited 1982 Dujail case, prosecutors have said they believe they can show Saddam's personal responsibility more easily than in the bigger crimes.
Iraq chose the day after the Tigris bridge stampede to announce it had resumed hanging convicted criminals, sending a clear statement of what Saddam could expect by carrying out the executions so soon before his trial was due to start.
Saddam's co-defendants include Barzan al-Tikriti, his half- brother and former head of Iraq's intelligence service; Taha Yassin Ramadan, former vice president; and Awad Hamad al-Bander, former chief judge of Saddam's Revolutionary Court.
Many of the Dujail men were formally tried and executed.