Saddam Hussein and six of his former commanders returned to a Baghdad court on Monday to face charges of crimes against humanity over a military campaign against ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s.
Iraq’s former dictator, who has already received the death penalty in another trial for his role in the killings of 148 Shiite villagers after he escaped assassination in 1982, was last in court on Nov. 8.
Some lawyers in the defense team were present in the session, but Saddam’s chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi was absent. The defense has boycotted recent sessions in this trial.
Prosecutors say the 1988 Anfal -- Spoils of War -- campaign against Kurds included widespread use of chemical weapons, killed more than 180,000 people and destroyed hundreds of villages. Saddam and one other defendant face the most serious charge of genocide.
Chief prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon told Reuters on Sunday that he had an audiotape and documents proving Saddam himself ordered the gassing in northern Iraq.