Saddam's trial for killing 180,000 Kurds resumed

Saddam Hussein's trial for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s resumed Monday with the late dictator's seat empty, nine days after he went to the gallows. The court's first order of business was to drop all charges against Saddam. Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa said the court decided to stop all legal action against the former president, since "the death of defendant Saddam was confirmed." Six co-defendants still face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from a military campaign code-named Operation Anfal during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. All defendants in the Anfal case, including Saddam, had pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Saddam and one other man also pleaded innocent to the additional charge of genocide. In Monday's session, prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon presented a document allegedly signed by al-Ani, calling for the execution of 10 members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party headed by current Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The prosecutor also aired a video showing the aftermath of chemical weapons attacks on Kurdish areas, with dozens of dead men, women and children. Accompanying audio allegedly contained the voice of al-Majid saying "I will hit them with chemical (weapons)." Another audiotape was played for the court, allegedly with Saddam saying, "These weapons are only used at my orders."