Erik De Castro  /  Pool via Reuters
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein listens to defense testimony at his genocide trial in Baghdad, on Wednesday.
updated 9/13/2006 8:01:13 AM ET 2006-09-13T12:01:13

The chief prosecutor in Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial demanded that the presiding judge step down, accusing him Wednesday of bias toward the deposed leader and his co-defendants.

“You allowed this court to become a political podium for the defendants,” roared the prosecutor, Munqith al-Faroon, as judge Abdullah al-Amiri listened.

Saddam thundered Tuesday against “agents of Iran and Zionism” and vowed to “crush your heads” after listening to Kurdish witnesses tell of the horrors committed by the fallen regime two decades ago.

Al-Faroon alleged that al-Amiri was giving Saddam the time to make “political” statements that were irrelevant to the proceedings.

“For instance yesterday, instead of taking legal action (against Saddam), you asked his permission to talk,” al-Faroon said. “The action of the court leans toward the defendants.”

No direct response
Al-Amiri did not directly answer the accusation, but recalled how a successor to the Prophet Muhammad allowed the accused to voice their opinions.

One of the “pillars of the judiciary is to treat everyone equally,” al-Amiri said before ordering that the proceedings resume.

Four witnesses told the court Tuesday of mass graves where the bodies of their relatives were found two decades after they went missing in the regime’s Operation Anfal. One witness recalled his effort to survive a chemical attack allegedly carried out by Saddam’s forces against the Kurdish population.

Earlier this week, Saddam accused the Kurdish witnesses of trying to sow ethnic division in Iraq by alleging chemical attacks and mass arrests in their villages during the 1980s crackdown, which the prosecution says claimed up to 180,000 lives.

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