Saddam Hussein's trial for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s resumed Monday with the late president's seat empty, nine days after he was executed. The court's first order of business was to drop all charges against Saddam.
Six co-defendants still face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in a military campaign code-named Operation Anfal during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. According to the AP, Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa said the court decided to stop all legal action against the former president, since "the death of defendant Saddam was confirmed."
"The court received a letter from the IHT on January 7 concerning the execution of defendant Saddam Hussein," the judge said. "The court has decided to stop legal procedures against defendant Saddam Hussein, according to article 304 of the Iraqi criminal procedure law issued in 1971."
All seven defendants in the Anfal case, including Saddam, had pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The six remaining defendants - all senior members of Saddam's ousted regime - include his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds. The other defendants are former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim al-Tai, who was the commander of Task Force Anfal and head of the Iraqi army 1st Corps; Sabir al-Douri, Saddam's military intelligence chief; Taher Tawfiq al-Ani, former governor of Mosul and head of the Northern Affairs Committee; Hussein Rashid Mohammed, former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi Armed Forces and Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, former head of military intelligence's eastern regional office.