Lawyers gave their closing arguments Thursday for the last two defendants in Saddam Hussein's trial, and the chief judge adjourned the proceedings until mid-October when the ousted president and two top lieutenants could be sentenced to death.
Saddam was not in court because his court-appointed attorney presented closing arguments Wednesday.
The final two defendants to appear in court for closing arguments were former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad al-Bandar, who presided over the revolutionary court that sentenced in 1982 Shiites in Dujail to death or imprisonment.
Both defendants said they would not accept their court-appointed lawyers, who nonetheless presented summations maintaining that the government had failed to establish a link between their clients and the killings and human rights abuses in Dujail. "I refuse these procedures and I will not present my own defense," Ramadan told the judge, according to the AP. "I do not know who this lawyer is, or his name."
Ramadan said he could produce "1,000 people from Dujail" to testify that "they never saw me there." He also complained that the government had done little to find the killers of the defense lawyers, adding that "if I left prison now, I could find the killers in five minutes."
In his closing, Ramadan's court-appointed lawyer said there was no evidence tying the former vice president to the events in Dujail. "He had no role in the arrest of the people of Dujail ... There is no evidence of his involvement in the case," said the lawyer.
Ramadan was the commander of the Popular Army, established in the early 1970s as the militia of Saddam's Baath Party. The lawyer added that even if the Popular Army was involved in the Dujail events, no evidence had been presented showing that Ramadan issued any orders.
Speaking after the closing, Ramadan criticized the lawyer for dwelling so much on the Popular Army, saying his role was mainly training and he had no direct control over the units, which were under the control of local Baath party leaders. "It's not even an issue of how strong or weak my influence was over the Popular Army," he said. "The fact is, I had no control over it to begin with."
The five-judge panel adjourned until Oct. 16 to consider a verdict.