Saddam trial judge could be replaced by deputy

The chief judge who resigned from handling the Saddam Hussein trial is expected to be replaced by his deputy, the top Iraqi investigator in the case said today.

The chief judge who resigned from handling the Saddam Hussein trial is expected to be replaced by his deputy, the top Iraqi investigator in the case said today.

Judge Raid Juhi, who investigated the toppled Iraqi leader before his trial started, said the resignation of Rizgar Mohammed Amin had not yet been officially accepted, but his expected departure would be filled by the second-ranking judge trying the case, Saad al-Hamash.

Juhi said the law governing the court set up to try Saddam and seven co-defendants prescribed that if the chief judge was to be replaced, his position should be taken over by his deputy.

The tribunal overseeing the Saddam investigations said Amin wanted to quit for “personal reasons” and not because of government pressure, but his move would not prevent the January 24 resumption of the trial as scheduled.

Saddam and the other defendants are charged in the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims from the town of Dujail, who were killed in retaliation for a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam.

Conviction could bring sentences of death by hanging.

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