BAGHDAD, Iraq – Court in the trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein adjourned until Tuesday in Iraq's capital city after a Monday session marked by heated exchanges, tirades by the former Iraqi president and a walkout by his defense team.
Saddam told the court at his trial he's "not afraid of execution," a statement he made as he responded to testimony from a witness against him at his trial in Baghdad.
The witness had described the arrest and torture of Shiites in a village following an attempt to kill Saddam in the early 1980s.
Earlier, Saddam railed at the judge, and all 14 of the former leader's lawyers briefly walked out of court.
After the second witness, who was about 10 years old at the time of the events in question, testified against Saddam about the alleged atrocities committed by the dictator's regime against his family, Saddam began pounding on the podium and ranting in court.
Translators have been instructed not to translate everything Saddam says during his trial anymore, especially when he begins what have become his customary tirades. He told the judge Monday not to interrupt him because he was the Iraqi leader for 30 years and deserves his time to speak.
Before the defense team walked out of court in protest, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who is helping represent Saddam, told the judge he needed just two minutes to present his argument. But Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin at first said only Saddam's lead attorney, Khalil al-Dulaimi, could speak.
Dulaimi had asked to file a petition questioning the legality of the proceeding and asked that Clark be allowed to address the court. Amin responded that since the language of the court was Arabic, the defense should submit its motion in writing. He warned that if Saddam's attorneys walked out, the court would appoint replacement lawyers.
The defense team still stormed out in anger.
After his lawyers left, Saddam, shaking his right hand, told the judge: "You are imposing lawyers on us. They are imposed lawyers. The court is imposed by itself. We reject that."
Saddam and his half brother Barazan Ibrahim then chanted, "Long live Iraq, long live the Arab state."
Ibrahim stood up and shouted: "Why don't you just execute us and get rid of all of this!"
When the judge explained that he was ruling in accordance with the law, Saddam replied: "This is a law made by America and does not reflect Iraqi sovereignty."
Saddam and seven co-defendants are accused in the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shiites after an assassination attempt against the president in Dujail.
The first witness to take the stand, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, began his emotional but often rambling testimony. He said that after an assassination attempt on Saddam, security agencies took people of all ages from age 14 to over age 70. They were tortured for 70 days at the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad before being moved to Abu Ghraib prison, where the abuse continued, he said.
"There were mass arrests. Women and men. Even if a child was 1 day old they used to tell his parents, 'Bring him with you,"' Mohammed said. He said he was taken to a security center where "I saw bodies of people from Dujail."
"They were martyrs I knew," Mohammed said, giving the name of the nine whose bodies were there.
After the walkout and a 90-minute recess to resolve the issue, the court reconvened and Amin allowed Clark and ex-Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi to speak on the questions of the legitimacy of the tribunal and safety of the lawyers.
"Reconciliation is essential," Clark told the court. "This trial can divide or heal. Unless it is seen as absolutely fair, and fair in fact, it will divide rather than reconcile Iraq."
At that point, the judge reminded Clark that he was to speak only about the security guarantees for the defense lawyers — two of whom have been assassinated since the trial began Oct. 19.
Clark then said all parties were entitled to protection, and the measures offered to protect the defense and their families were "absurd." Clark said that without such protection, the judicial system would collapse.
Al-Nueimi then spoke about the legitimacy issue, arguing that court is not independent and was in fact set up under the U.S.-led occupation rather than by a legal Iraqi government. He said the language of the statute was unchanged from that promulgated by the former top U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and was therefore "illegitimate."
The first witness earlier exchanged insults with Saddam's half brother, telling him "you killed a 14-year-old boy."
"To hell," the half brother, Ibrahim, replied.
"You and your children, go to hell," the witness replied.
The judge then asked them to avoid such exchanges.
As the testimony continued, Saddam's lawyers objected that someone in the visitors' gallery was making threatening gestures and should be removed. Ibrahim leapt to his feet, spat in the direction of the gallery, and shouted, "These are criminals."
The judge ordered the person removed from the gallery and questioned.
"There was random arrests in the streets, all the forces of the [Baath] party, and Thursday became 'Judgment Day' and Dujail has become a battle front," the witness said, at times fighting back tears.
"Shootings started and nobody could leave or enter Dujail. At night, intelligence agents arrived headed by Barazan" Ibrahim.
Ibrahim interrupted him at one point, saying: "I am a patriot and I was the head of the intelligence service of Iraq."
At the start of Monday's session, Saddam walked into the court with a smile, carrying a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, and greeted everyone there.
Most of the defendants and several of the defense lawyers, including Clark, al-Dulaimi and al-Nueimi, stood up out of respect when Saddam walked in.
FOX News' Dana Lewis, Andrew Stack and The Associated Press contributed to this report.