Iraqis woke up expecting to read news that the trial of Saddam Hussein was about to resume. But instead, they found that proceedings had been postponed. That hasintensified speculation that the tribunal panel is unable to agree on a new presiding judge.
The official explanation is that witnesses are still out of the country after the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia – but that finished 11 days ago. One policeman remarked: “The previous judge was so lenient with Saddam and his co-defendants that we want the government to appoint a judge who will be firmer.” Judge Rizgar Amin resigned amid accusations he was too soft on the ex-dictator. Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman was to take over – he is a Kurd from Halabja, the town that was infamously subjected to a gas attack by the old regime. But reports suggest that some members of the panel want to bring back Amin, or appoint a different judge.