Saddam On Trial

During Saddam Hussein's genocide trial, the chief judge said today that he does not believe Saddam was a dictator. Judge Abdullah al-Amiri made the remark in a friendly exchange with the deposed leader, a day after the prosecution said the judge should step down because he is biased toward the defense.

Saddam and his co-defendants are being tried on charges of committing atrocities against Kurds in northern Iraq nearly two decades ago.

Why is Saddam Hussein having a second trial?

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is facing a range of charges before a special tribunal.

Saddam Hussein is being tried for separate cases. In the first trial, the former Iraqi leader was on trial over the killings of more than 148 Shiite Muslims from the town of Dujail in a crackdown launched after a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam. Verdicts for Saddam and seven co-defendants are expected in that case on Oct. 16.

The second trial opens a new legal chapter for the ousted Iraqi leader. He faces charges of killing tens of thousands of Kurds during the Iraqi army's "Operation Anfal."

What is Operation Anfal?

In 1988 Saddam's regime launched a campaign of murder and displacement allegedly aimed at halting Kurdish rebellion; it was called "Anfal," meaning "spoils of war." Saddam accused the Kurds of helping Iran in its war with Iraq. An estimated 180,000 Kurds were killed, many of them buried in mass graves in the south. According to the U.S. State Department, evidence concerning the campaign indicates many women and children were killed, by firing squads and in chemical attacks.

Is there a jury?

There is no jury. The chief judge will question the witnesses, and all five judges will decide the guilt or innocence of Saddam and his seven co-defendants. The judges will be permitted to draw help from international advisers.

What charges does Saddam face?

(AP Photo/Marco Di Lauro)
In the first case, the former president faces a possible execution by hanging if convicted, though he has the right to appeal, a process that could take months. In the second trial, Saddam Hussein, once again, faces a possible death penalty for the killings of tens of thousands of Kurds during the Iraqi army's "Operation Anfal" — Arabic for "spoils of war."

If Saddam is convicted, what happens next?

If convicted, Saddam can appeal to a nine-judge tribunal that is part of the special Iraqi tribunal set up to investigate alleged crimes by him and others during Saddam's 23-year rule.

If the sentence is upheld after all appeals are exhausted, then it must be implemented within 30 days, regardless of other judicial proceedings. If Saddam should be sentenced to death, that means he could be executed while some of the dozen or so trials he is expected to face go unfinished.

Learn More About Iraq

CBS News Interactive guide of Saddam Hussein's first trial

State Dept. Fact Sheet on Iraq

The White House's "Renewal In Iraq"

CBS Special Report On Iraq: After Saddam

Library Of Congress' Iraq: Country Studies

U.N. News Center