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In Depth

Iraq

Timeline of Saddam's trials

Last Updated December 29, 2006

Dec. 29, 2006: Munir Haddad, an Iraqi judge on the appeal court that upheld Saddam Hussein's death sentence on Dec. 26, said the ousted president would be hanged by the end of the next day. Defence lawyers say Saddam has given his will and personal effects to his relatives.
» CBC STORY: Saddam to hang by end of Saturday: Iraqi judge

Dec. 26, 2006: Iraq's Appeal Court upholds the death sentence imposed Nov. 5 after ousted president Saddam Hussein was convicted of crimes against humanity in his first trial, involving the 1982 killings of 148 Shia Muslims in the northern Iraqi town of Dujail. The court's decision must be ratified by President Jalal Talabani and Iraq's two vice-presidents. Talabani opposes the death penalty but has in the past deputized a vice-president to sign an execution order on his behalf, a substitute that was legally accepted. Once the decision is ratified, Saddam and other co-defendants sentenced to death at the trial would be hanged within 30 days.
» CBC STORY: Saddam's death sentence upheld by Appeal Court

Dec. 27, 2006: Saddam Hussein calls on Iraqis not to hate the U.S.-led forces that invaded Iraq, in a letter posted on a website that may be his final statement before execution. "I call on you not to hate, because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair, and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking," says the letter, whose authenticity was confirmed by one of Saddam's lawyers. "I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us."
» CBC STORY: Don't hate those who attacked us: Saddam

Dec. 21, 2006: The second trial of Saddam Hussein and six others, accused of crimes against humanity and other crimes during a 1987-88 military crackdown on Kurds in northern Iraq, is adjourned until Jan. 8. Prosecutors have alleged that chenmical agents, such as mustard or nerve gas, were used during a military campaign code-named Operation Anfal that killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds during the war in the 1980s between Iran and Iraq.

Dec. 3, 2006: Saddam Hussein's lawyers formally appeal the death sentence imposed on their client on Nov. 5, after he was convicted in his first trial on crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 Shia Muslims in the northern Iraqi town of Dujail.
» CBC STORY: Saddam lawyers appeal former president's death sentence

Nov. 5, 2006: The Iraqi High Tribunal finds Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity in his first trial and sentences him to hang for the 1982 killings of 148 Shia Muslims in Dujail north of Baghdad. The court also upholds death sentences for Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother and intelligence chief during the Dujail killings, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, which issued the death sentences against the Dujail residents. A former Iraqi vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison. Three defendants — Abdullah Khadem Ruweid, his son Mezhar Abdullah Ruweid and Ali Daeh Ali — are sentenced to 15 years in prison for torture and premeditated murder. They were believed responsible for the Dujail arrests. Another co-defendant, Baath party official, Mohammed Assam Al-Ali, is acquitted.
» CBC STORY: Defiant Saddam sentenced to hang

Nov. 3, 2006: All military leaves cancelled, armed forces on alert two days before the Iraqi High Tribunal is expected to announce verdict in trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants.

Oct. 30, 2006: Saddam Hussein's top lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, demands that presiding judge investigate items such as abuse of Saddam's co-defendants by prison guards and theft of defence counsel documents. The lawyer leaves when judge says Arab and foreign lawyers may only appear as advisers to Saddam.

Oct. 16, 2006: Imad al-Faroon, brother of a prosecutor assigned to the second Saddam Hussein trial, is assassinated Monday morning in front of his house in West Baghdad.

Sept. 20, 2006: Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa is appointed to preside over the second Saddam Hussein trial, replacing Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri who was removed at the Iraqi government's insistence the day before.

Aug. 21, 2006: Saddam Hussein is in court for the opening of his second trial, on charges of genocide and war crimes against Kurds. Saddam, who faces the death penalty, refuses to enter a plea.
» CBC STORY: Saddam begins second trial with no plea

July 24, 2006: The trial resumes with Saddam Hussein still in hospital on the 18th day of his hunger strike. His defence team refuses to appear in court in protest, saying Saddam has not received a fair trial. A verdict for Saddam and his co-defendants is expected in that case on Oct. 16.
» CBC STORY: Saddam remains in hospital as trial resumes

Saddam Hussein has been on trial in Baghdad since October 2005. (Associated Press)
July 23, 2006: Saddam Hussein is sent to hospital on the 17th day of his hunger strike to protest the abduction and killing of his lawyer, Khamis al-Obeidi. Prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi says Saddam's health is unstable and he is being fed through a tube.
» CBC STORY: Saddam hospitalized, 'unstable' due to hunger strike

July 7, 2006: Saddam Hussein and three other detainees begin to refuse food following the evening meal.

June 27, 2006: Iraq's High Tribunal says Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants will be put on trial starting Aug. 21 for a series of attacks, including chemical attacks, that killed an estimated 100,000 Kurds in northern Iraq.
» CBC STORY: Saddam trial date set in Kurdish massacre

June 21, 2006: One of Saddam Hussein's lawyers is abducted from his home in Baghdad and later found shot to death. Khamis al-Obeidi is the third member of the defence team killed since the former Iraqi leader's trial began eight months ago. Al-Obeidi represented Saddam and his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti in the trial. Saddam and his seven co-defendants go on a hunger strike, saying they won't eat until their team receives international protection. A U.S. official would later say the strike ended after missing just one meal.
» CBC STORY: Saddam lawyer abducted and killed

June 19, 2006: In closing arguments, prosecutors ask for the death penalty for Saddam Hussein and his seven co-accused. If found guilty, the defendants face a sentence of death by hanging.
» CBC STORY: Death penalty sought as Saddam trial nears end

June 13, 2006: Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman orders the defence team to wrap up its case. Saddam Hussein's defence team complains that it hasn't been able to present its case completely. "You've presented 62 witnesses. If that's not enough to present your case, then 100 won't work," Abdel-Rahman responds.
» CBC STORY: Judge orders Saddam's defence team to wrap up case

May 15, 2006: Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman formally charges Saddam Hussein with murder, torture and illegally arresting 399 people in connection with a crackdown against Shias in the town of Dujail in the 1980s. Saddam refuses to enter a plea and claims "I am the president of Iraq according to the will of the Iraqis." Abdel-Rahman enters a plea of not guilty on Saddam's behalf.
» CBC STORY: Saddam's trial enters new phase with official charges

April 19, 2006: Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman reads a report from handwriting experts which says Saddam Hussein approved an order authorizing the killing of Shia villagers in the 1980s. Saddam's defence lawyers dispute the signatures, claiming they are forgeries.
» CBC STORY: Experts authenticate Saddam's signature on orders

April 5, 2006: Saddam Hussein faces direct questions from prosecutors for the first time in his six-month trial. He argues with prosecutors and the judge, questioning evidence, and calling for an outside body to evaluate it. He accuses the Iraqi Interior Ministry of killing and torturing people.
» CBC STORY: Saddam cross-examined as trial resumes

April 4, 2006: Saddam Hussein is charged with genocide for a poison gas attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988. Six others are also charged. More than 5,000 people died in the attack. The new charges will be reviewed by a second judge, who will set a trial date.
» CBC STORY: Saddam faces genocide charges for Kurdish gas attacks

March 15, 2006: Saddam returns to the court and clashes with the chief judge during the opening statement of his defence. Saddam calls the proceedings a "comedy" and tells the Iraqi people to end sectarian violence and fight the "American invasion." Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman shuts off Saddam's microphone and tells him not to make political speeches. "I am the head of state," Saddam replies. The judge orders the session closed and tells reporters to leave. Hours later, the trial is adjourned until April 5.
» CBC STORY: Trial closed to public as judge, Saddam clash

March 12, 2006: Abdullah Khadem Ruweid, his son Mezhar Abdullah Ruweid and Ali Daeh Ali — Saddam Hussein's co-defendants and all former officials in his Baath party - testify for the first time. They deny any role in the arrests and deaths of Shia Muslims in Dujail in the 1980s.

March 1, 2006: Saddam Hussein admits to ordering trials that led to the execution of 148 Shia Muslims following an attempt on his life, but insists his actions were within the law. "Where is the crime? Where is the crime?" Saddam asks the court.
» CBC STORY: Saddam asks 'where is the crime?'

Feb. 28, 2006: Prosecutors introduce a series of documents related to the execution of 148 Shia Muslims in 1982. One is a memo, dated June 14, 1984, from the Revolutionary Court that listed 148 suspects by name who had allegedly been sentenced to death by hanging. Another document, dated two days later, is a presidential order signed by Saddam Hussein approving the death sentences. Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi says the trial that led to the executions was "imaginary."
» CBC STORY: Memos link Saddam to killings, trial told

Feb. 27, 2006: Saddam Hussein's lawyer says his client has ended his hunger strike for health reasons, a day before his trial is set to resume.
» CBC STORY: Saddam ends hunger strike as trial set to resume

Feb. 14, 2006: Saddam Hussein tells the court he has been on a hunger strike for three days to protest his treatment. He again argues with the judge. Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman bangs his gavel and tells Saddam to stand when addressing the court. Saddam tells the judge, "Hit your own head with that gavel."
» CBC STORY: Saddam on hunger strike to protest court

Feb. 13, 2006: Saddam Hussein returns to court, wearing a traditional Arab robe. He enters the court, shouting, "Down with the agents. Down with Bush. Long live the nation." He begins arguing with the judge, telling him he has been brought to court against his will and would rather be tried in absentia.
» CBC STORY: Saddam denounces Bush as trial resumes

Feb. 1, 2006: Saddam Hussein, his lawyers and four of his co-accused refuse to attend the resumed trial to protest the new chief judge. Saddam's lawyers say Raouf Abdel-Rahman is from Halabja, a Kurdish town attacked by Saddam's army 1988, killing 5,000 people, including some of Abdel-Rahman's relatives.
» CBC STORY: Saddam's trial resumes, without Saddam

Saddam Hussein at his trial in Baghdad, Dec. 5, 2005. (David Furst/Associated Press)
Jan. 29, 2006: As the trial resumes, new chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman had one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants removed from the courtroom. Saddam then refuses court-appointed lawyers and launches into a tirade at the judge, shouting "down with traitors." Abdel-Rahman tries to press ahead but adjourns the trial until Feb. 1.
» CBC STORY: Saddam trial turns to chaos

Jan. 24, 2006: The trial is delayed five days after witnesses who were travelling outside Iraq fail to appear.
» CBC STORY: Saddam's trial delayed

Jan. 14, 2006: Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, the lead judge in the five-judge panel in Saddam's trial, resigns, saying he is fed up with political interference.
» CBC STORY: Chief judge in Saddam trial resigns, officials say

Dec. 22, 2005: A witness testified that, as a child, he watched as relatives were arrested, and some disappeared. Saddam Hussein attacks the credibility of U.S. statements. "The White House lied when it said Iraq had chemical weapons," he says. The trial again adjourns.
» CBC STORY: Saddam's trial postponed, again

Dec. 21, 2005: The court hears testimony that prisoners taken from Dujail were given electric shocks, and hot plastic was used to rip their skin off. After a seemingly orderly day in court, Saddam Hussein launches into an outburst claiming he was beaten while in custody. "I have been beaten, everywhere on my body," he tells the court. Iraqi and U.S. officials would later deny the claim.
» CBC STORY: Saddam tells Baghdad court he was beaten in prison

Dec. 20, 2005: Saddam Hussein's trial resumes
» CBC STORY: Saddam calm as trial resumes in Baghdad

Dec. 7, 2005: The trial of Saddam Hussein continues despite Saddam's refusal to come to court, complaining that he and his co-defendants have been mistreated. After hearing evidence for a few hours, the trial is adjourned for two weeks.
» CBC STORY: Saddam trial adjourned for 2 weeks after boycott

Dec. 6, 2005: A woman identified as Witness A testifies that she was stripped, beaten and given electric shocks by Iraqi security forces in 1982. The witness spoke from behind a screen and his voice was electronically altered in order to protect her against possible reprisals by Saddam Hussein's supporters.
» CBC STORY: Woman tells Saddam trial about abuse, jailings

Dec. 5, 2005: Saddam Hussein's trial resumes. At one point, Saddam shouts, "We will not accept state officials defending us. They are American stooges." His legal team then walked out of the courtroom for about 90 minutes.
» CBC STORY: Saddam trial resumes in Baghdad

Nov. 8, 2005: Adel al-Zubeidi, a lawyer to one of Saddam Hussein's co-accused is killed, after being shot from a speeding car in Baghdad. Al-Zubeidi was representing former Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan.
» CBC STORY: Lawyer in Saddam trial shot dead

Oct. 21, 2005: Police in Iraq find the body Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi, a lawyer to Awad Hamed al-Bandar, one of Saddam Hussein's co-accused. Al-Janabi was kidnapped hours earlier and was found with two gunshot wounds to the head, police say.
» CBC STORY: Lawyer in Saddam trial found dead

Oct. 19, 2005: Saddam Hussein's trial begins in Baghdad. He attacks the legitimacy of the court, saying, "I do not recognize the body that has authorized you and I don't recognize this aggression." Saddam pleads innocent to the charges against him. Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin confirms that Saddam could face the death penalty if he is convicted. Amin adjourns the trial until Nov. 28, 2005.
» CBC STORY: Saddam trial begins on murder, torture charges

Aug. 24, 2005: The Iraqi Special Tribunal releases a statement saying Saddam Hussein has fired his 1,500-member defence team, made up of Arab and Western lawyers and advisers. Only one Iraqi attorney, Khalil al-Dulaimi, remains as Saddam's legal representation.

July 18, 2005: The special tribunal files the first formal charges against Saddam Hussein, for the killings of 143 Shia Muslims in Dujail, in northern Iraq, in 1982. The killings followed a failed assassination attempt on Saddam.
» CBC STORY: Tribunal lays criminal charge against Saddam

July 1, 2004: Saddam Hussein makes a 30-minute court appearance in Baghdad. The charges against him, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are read aloud. Saddam condemns the special tribunal as "theatre," and says U.S. President George W. Bush is the real criminal.
» CBC STORY: Defiant Saddam says court appearance is 'all theatre'

June 30, 2004: Saddam Hussein and 11 members of his Baath party, are legally handed over to the interim Iraqi government to face trial. They are not physically handed over, however, as the Iraqi government lacks facilities to detain him. Saddam and his former officials remain in custody at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility.
» CBC STORY: Iraqis given legal custody of Saddam

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