Saddam Hussein's genocide trial resumes after a 12-day break

Saddam Hussein's trial on genocide charges against the Kurds resumed Monday after a 12-day break with the former Iraqi leader and his co-defendants in the courtroom, but their lawyers absent.

Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa had declared a recess in the trial after a stormy session Sept. 26 during which Saddam and his six co-defendants were thrown out of court. The judge said at the time that he wanted to give the defendants time to convince their lawyers to end their boycott of the trial, or to confer with new ones.

Still, Saddam's chief lawyer had said Sunday that he and his team would continue boycotting the trial to protest the removal of the first chief judge, and the court's refusal to give the attorneys time to examine thousands of documents.

Lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said the decision to continue the boycott was made after he met with Saddam on Oct. 2 and because of "repeated violations by the court."

Saddam and his co-defendants were present in court Monday, but their lawyers were absent, reports AP.

Al-Khalifa opened the hearing by calling in Kurdish witnesses to take the stand.

Saddam and the six others have been on trial since Aug. 21 for a crackdown on Kurdish rebels in the late 1980s. The prosecution says about 180,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed. Saddam and the others could face death by hanging if convicted.

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