[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 10:35 GMT
Saddam makes surprise showing
Saddam Hussein listens to translation in court 6 December 2006
The court heard the last prosecution witness on Wednesday
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has appeared in court, despite saying a day earlier that he would refuse to attend further hearings of his genocide trial.

On Tuesday, he had said he could no longer put up with "continued insults" by the chief judge and prosecutors.

The deposed leader and six others are on trial over their role in a campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s in which more than 100,000 people died.

Saddam Hussein is currently appealing a death sentence from a separate trial.

He entered the courtroom smiling, and took his place to hear a Kurdish medical worker describe how he treated victims of gas attacks in 1987.

Boycott threat

It is not clear what prompted Saddam Hussein's return to court after his defiance on Tuesday.

In a handwritten letter, he had said he would refuse to attend, whatever the consequences.

He wrote that he had not been given an adequate chance to defend himself over his role in the Anfal campaign.

"I ask you to relieve me from attending the sessions of this new farce and you can do whatever you want," he wrote.

Saddam Hussein and his six co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the campaign against the Kurds, code-named al-Anfal, or "the spoils of war".

Saddam Hussein and his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also face charges of genocide.

More than 70 witnesses have been heard in the Anfal trial. After the last prosecution witness on Wednesday, the trial is expected to focus on documents allegedly linking the defendants to the killings.

The defence argues it was a legitimate operation to quell a rebellion after some Kurds sided with the enemy during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.






FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific