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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 16:21 GMT
No-one else to blame, says Saddam
Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants in court on 1 March 2006

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has told his trial in Baghdad that he alone should be made to answer for the actions of his regime.

At the end of a second straight day of prosecution evidence, he said the court should not be trying anyone else - a reference to his seven co-defendants.

Earlier, he admitted razing the farms of those convicted of trying to kill him in the town of Dujail in 1982.

The trial, which resumed amid fresh violence, was adjourned until 12 March.

Three bombs exploded in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing more than 20 people.

More than 400 people have been killed and scores wounded in the current spate of sectarian violence that began after a bomb attack on a Shia Muslim shrine in the city of Samarra last Wednesday.

Bullets

A businesslike court session was enlivened at the very end by Saddam Hussein's extraordinary intervention, says the BBC's Jim Muir from the court.

Having listened to the documents and testimonies - many of which implicated his fellow defendants in the killings of 148 Shia Muslims from Dujail - he told the court it should be trying him alone.

I razed them... we specified the farmland of those who were convicted and I signed
Saddam Hussein

But he insisted that he had done nothing wrong, as those who were executed had been found guilty of trying to assassinate him.

"If it was a crime to refer for trial those accused of shooting at the president, then try me and save a lot of trouble," he told the court.

"I am Saddam Hussein. I was in charge, and just because things have changed, I am not going to say someone else was responsible."

The 69-year-old former president said he had ordered the destruction of orchards belonging to villagers convicted over the failed attempt on his life in Dujail.

"I razed them... we specified the farmland of those who were convicted and I signed," Saddam Hussein told the court.

He described seeing bullets pass before his eyes during the attack on his convoy during a visit to Dujail, and said God had saved him.

Further indictments?

Earlier, chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi had presented documents and letters that he said linked the former president to the Dujail massacre.

Documents at Saddam's trial
Saddam's signature allegedly approving the executions

The court saw death certificates of nearly 100 villagers, who were hanged after being convicted by a revolutionary court.

Documents showed transfer orders revealing how their families, including babies just a few months old, were shipped off into the desert after their homes and farms were seized.

One letter revealed that four of the accused were executed by mistake, while two were released by mistake.

Another, purportedly from the Iraqi secret service, said nearly 50 of the accused had died during interrogation rather than by hanging.

The judge has adjourned the trial for 11 days, during which time the court will decide whether to indict former Interior Minister Saadoun Shaker, as requested by the prosecution.

The trial, which began in October, has so far heard 26 prosecution witnesses.

The defendants deny the charges.




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