BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two defendants in the trial of Saddam Hussein made their closing arguments Tuesday before the judge adjourned the proceedings for nearly two weeks in an attempt to resolve a boycott of the court by the former Iraqi leader and his lawyers.
Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman said the court would resume on July 24 and warned that if the lawyers did not agree to return by that time, court-appointed lawyers would make the final arguments for Saddam and three other top defendants in the case.
"The absence of the original lawyers to defend the defendant will harm the case of his client," Abdel-Rahman said, then added, addressing the lawyers who were present, "Tell your colleagues ... that court-appointed lawyers will present the closing argument in case they do not attend."
Lawyers for Saddam, Barzan Ibrahim, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad al-Bandar announced Monday they were boycotting the final phase of the trial unless a list of demands were met, including greater security after the slaying of one of their colleagues last month.
Saddam also said he was boycotting, denouncing the court as unfair and a tool of the Americans.
In the meantime, the court this week heard the final arguments of four lower-level defendants in the case, including Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid and his son Mizhar on Tuesday.