No-one ever suggested it was going to be straightforward – but even though the trial has hardly started, bringing Saddam Hussein to justice already resembles opening a can of particularly virulent worms.
The time-honoured way of dealing with ousted Iraqi leaders is to have them swiftly killed after their fall from power, obviating the need for the legal niceties currently being observed in Baghdad.
The trial is unprecedented and presents all sorts of challenges to the new Iraqi authorities and their American backers.
The top issue is security. On 20 October Sadoun al-Janabi, lawyer for Awad al-Bandar, was abducted by gunmen from his office and found shot dead a few hours later.
Three weeks later, Adel al-Zubeidi, who represented Taha Yassin Ramadan, was killed in an ambush. Barzan Tikriti’s lawyer was injured in the same attack.