Chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial resigns

The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial has submitted his resignation after becoming fed up with criticism that he had let the proceedings spin out of control, a court official said. Amin is the head of a five-judge tribunal overseeing the case against Saddam and seven co-defendants for the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in the town of Dujail in 1982 in retaliation for an assassination attempt. Amin would be the second judge to step down in the case. Another member of the panel recused himself in late November because one of the co-defendants may have been involved in the execution of his brother. That judge was replaced. A court official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said Amin had offered to resign but efforts were under way to get him to reverse the decision. In the Saddam case, the chief judge - who is the only one of the five to be identified publicly due to security concerns - has been dismayed by the way he had been attacked in the media by critics who said he allowed the proceedings to get out of hand, the official said. Since the trial opened on Oct. 19, two defense lawyers also have been assassinated and a third has fled the country. Police also uncovered a plot to fire rockets at the courtroom in late November.