The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial threw the ex-president out of the courtroom Monday after the defendant complained about the proceedings.

"I have a request here that I don't want to be in this cage any more" Saddam said, referring to the court. He waved a yellow paper before he spoke to chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa.

Al-Khalifa snapped back: "I'm the presiding judge. I decide about your presence here. Get him out!" -- pointing to guards to take Saddam out.

"You need to show respect to the court and the case, and those who don't show it, Im sorry, but I have to apply the law," the judge said.

The fuss began when codefendant Sabri al-Douri, director of military intelligence under Saddam, referred to another co-defendant -- Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai -- by his rank of lieutenant general.

The judge then said that the defendants could not be referred to by their former rank.

An angry Saddam then raised the request not to attend the session, when the judge threw him out of the courtroom.