ROUND two of what has become the preamble to the trial of Saddam Hussein convened for two and a half hours on Monday in Baghdad's Green Zone. Proceedings were adjourned for one week to allow two of Saddam's co-defendants to find new lawyers after two defence attorneys were murdered following the official opening of the trial on 19 October.
Saddam and seven others are charged with ordering the 1982 killing of nearly 150 people in the village of Dujail north of Baghdad after a failed attempt on Saddam's life. Prosecutors have said they may bring more cases against Saddam, including massacres of Shia Muslims and Kurds, if he is not hanged first.
While Saddam appeared Monday as defiant as ever, defence lawyers argue that his rights continue to be violated so flagrantly as to undermining the legal veracity of the proceedings. "A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth," former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark, who was present as an advisor to Saddam's defence counsel, told Reuters.
Saddam again clashed with presiding judge Rizgar Mohamed Amin. After complaining of having to walk up four flights of stairs in shackles and receiving the reply from Amin that he would tell guards not to let that happen again, Saddam snapped: "you do not tell them. You order them. You are an Iraqi. They are conquerors and occupiers."