Saddam Hussein has formally taken the stand for the first time in his own defence.
But the one-time Iraqi leader took the opportunity to describe the court as “a comedy aganist him and his comrades.” In a heated exchange with Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman, he also went on to call for the people of Iraq to start resisting what he called “the invaders”,instead of killing each other. Eventually, the judge closed off the court to journalists. Saddam and seven co-accused are charged with the killing of 148 people, mostly from the Shi’ite Muslim town of Dujail, after a bid to assassinate the former Iraqi leader. Earlier this month, Saddam admitted in court that he gave the orders for the men to be tried. They were subsequently executed. Prior to the court being closed off, Saddam’s half brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan al-Tikriti denied he took part in the crackdown. Prosecutors hope the Dujail case will prove more clear-cut than other more complex cases involving charges of genocide where responsibility may be difficult to establish.