The judge presiding over the Iraqi tribunal trying deposed dictator Saddam Hussein has submitted his resignation after criticism over his running of the court, an official close to the tribunal said on Sunday.
“Judge Rizkar Mohammed Amin submitted his resignation shortly before the Eid al-Adha [Muslim holiday on January 10] and efforts are under way to try to get him to change his mind,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
The judge wants to resign because of strong criticism by politicians at the way he has allowed Saddam and his seven co-defendants to speak out in court and disrupt proceedings, the official said.
“The resignation has not yet been accepted,” he added.
Amin, a Kurd, is presiding over the trial of Saddam and seven co-accused, charged with ordering the massacre of more than 140 Shi’ites from the town of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt on the former Iraqi leader.
Amin has come under pressure, both at home and abroad, for allowing what critics see as theatrics by the defence counsels and the co-accused.
Saddam and his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim Tikriti have repeatedly sought to disrupt proceedings, with the former Iraqi leader alleging he was tortured in detention by US forces.
On one occasion, he even refused to attend a court session. Barzan, for his part, called one witness a dog and exchanged harsh words with the prosecutors.