The trial of Saddam Hussein resumes today – after Iraqi authorities said they had foiled an insurgent plot to fire rockets at the courtroom.
The defence has challenged the legitimacy of the court and wants more time to prepare its case.
Ten witnesses are due to testify when the trial opens after a week’s adjournment. One of the judges has removed himself from the panel since the November 28 hearing after learning that a co-defendant may have been involved in executing his brother.
A statement released by the office of Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser, said the 1920 Revolution Brigades, one of the country’s best-known insurgent groups, had planned to attack the building during today’s court session.
The statement said Iraqi intelligence uncovered the plot but gave no further details and did not say whether anyone had been arrested.
Saddam and seven co-defendants went on trial on October 19 for the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in the town of Dujail following an assassination attempt against him there. The defendants face the death penalty if convicted.
The trial has been dogged since the outset by security issues. Two defence lawyers have been assassinated since the opening session and a third has fled the country.