The turbulent trial of Saddam Hussein descended further into disarray today when the latest session was cancelled after key witnesses failed to attend court.
Rauf Rashid Abdel-Rahman, a previously unknown Kurdish magistrate who was sworn in as an interim replacement for Judge Rizkar Amin yesterday, was eventually forced to adjourn proceedings until Sunday.
The court has sat for only seven days in three months and there is growing public impatience for retribution under the newly-elected Shia Arab administration. At best, the trial – a crucial step in Iraq’s political progress – is not scheduled to be complete before June.
Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets of several Shia cities calling for the faltering legal process to be scrapped, and instead demanding summary execution of the former dictator. “Death is the minimum sentence for Saddam,” several hundred students shouted in the holy Shia city of Najaf, south of the capital.