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Last Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007, 07:03 GMT
Executed judge's case
By Karen O'Brien
BBC News

Awad Hamad al-Bandar
Bandar said he was simply following the letter of the law
As the head of the Iraqi Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamad al-Bandar, presided over the trials of Shia villagers in 1984.

It was he who imposed the death sentence on them. According to the charges against him, it was just one of the show trials which he conducted that led to summary executions.

But when he later sat in a Baghdad courtroom as an accused man - not in his erstwhile privileged position of judge - Awad al-Bandar's lawyers argued that he was only enforcing Iraqi law as it was at the time.

As such, the defence argued, he was only obeying orders.

But the court rejected this and ruled that his imposition of the death penalty in Dujail was in fact an order of murder.

Bandar was also accused of sentencing to death 35 teenagers - boys too young to be executed legally.

But he told the court: "I am a judge and my deep conscience would not allow me to sentence to death someone under the age of 20".

The Iraqi tribunal did not believe him.

However, the United States-based organisation, Human Rights Watch, has said it was deeply disturbed by what it called significant flaws in the case against him.

A spokesman said that the execution of Bandar and his co-accused - however appalling their crimes - was cruel and inhuman punishment that will only drag what it called a deeply flawed process into even greater disrepute.

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