Opening of Saddam trial delayed over judge shakeup

January 24, 2006 12:25

The resumption of Saddam Hussein's mass murder trial was delayed for several hours Tuesday, apparently as the sides wrangled over a last-minute shake-up in the court in which a new chief judge was appointed. The session had been expected to start in the morning, but by the early afternoon there was still no word when the court would convene. The defense team - which includes former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark - the prosecution and the judges were holding consultations all morning, a court official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The official did not say what the discussions were about. But the confusion comes a day after a new chief judge, Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman, was appointed and another jurist was ousted from the five-member panel hearing the trial of Saddam and seven co-defendants.

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