BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein appeared at his genocide trial Wednesday, a
day after writing the judge that he no longer wanted to attend.
The deposed Iraqi leader
walked into the courtroom with a broad smile and took a seat alongside his six
Saddam Hussein, holds up a piece of paper for the judge in
court Monday Dec. 4, 2006 during his trial with other defendants in
Baghdad, Iraq, for genocide in the 'Anfal' offensive against the Kurds.
Saddam and six co-defendants, face possible execution if convicted for the
1987-88 military offensive against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The
prosecution estimates that 180,000 Kurds were killed in the campaign,
code-named Operation Anfal, in which Saddam's army allegedly destroyed
hundreds of villages and killed or scattered their inhabitants.
The chief judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, called a prosecution witness to
the stand, reversing his Monday decision that the court would not hear more
witnesses but instead review the evidence.
In a handwritten statement released by Saddam's lawyers Tuesday, the
ex-president cited what he claimed were repeated "insults" by al-Khalifa and
"I will not accept being offended continuously by you and others," Saddam
wrote to al-Khalifa. "Therefore, I ask to be relieved of attending the hearings
in this new comedy and you can do whatever you want."
Saddam and his co-defendants have pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes
and crimes against humanity arising from their role in a military crackdown on
Iraq's Kurd population. Saddam and one other defendant are also charged with
genocide for the campaign, code-named Operation Anfal, in which the prosecution
says 180,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.
Saddam's army allegedly destroyed hundreds of villages and killed or
scattered their inhabitants in a scorched earth campaign against separatist