A woman whose identity will be kept secret was to be a witness in the trial of Saddam Hussein as the fourth session of the trial resumed today in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone.
Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin told the court that defence lawyers would be told the identity of the witness, but they must not pass details to anyone outside the tribunal. He said she would be referred to publicly as “Witness A”.
Witnesses have the option of not having their identities revealed as a security measure to protect them against reprisals by Saddam loyalists.
The first two witnesses – both men who took the stand yesterday – allowed their names to be announced and their pictures to be transmitted around the world.
When the witness began to speak, defence attorneys complained they could not hear her because her voice was being distorted to protect her identity. The judge then ordered the voice modulator to be shut off -- allowing defence counsel to hear her natural voice.
But people in the visitors’ gallery and the press viewing area could not hear any of her testimony.
Before the testimony, Saddam’s half-brother and co-defendant Barazan Ibrahim and chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi got into a verbal tiff over the defendant referring to him as “comrade”, in the style of Saddam’s Baath Party.
“I object to being referred to as a comrade,” the prosecutor complained.
Ibrahim replied: “The word ’comrade’ is very noble and dignified. You are my comrade and I’m very proud of you.”
The trial continues.