Saddam Hussein has admitted to the court trying him that he ordered the trial of 148 Shia in the 1980s, but argued it was his right to do so since they were accused of attempting to assassinate him.
A transcript of excerpts from his speech on Wednesday follow:
(Saddam recites a verse of the Quran, then addresses, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, the chief judge)
"Your honour, you are looking for things and you have clarity in your hands, but you leave it and go looking for the unknown.
"What do I mean? For instance, the razing of Dujail's groves. I razed them. So why do you go after Taha Yassin Ramadan and Barzan (Ibrahim, two of his seven co-defendants)?
(Ibrahim tries to interrupt, but the judge silences him)
"You have no need to go after other people. I razed the land. I don't mean I rode a bulldozer and razed it, but I razed it.
"It was a resolution issued by the Revolutionary Command Council defining the pieces of land to be flattened for those who were convicted. And that was done.
"I signed the decree.
"I razed the land. I don't mean I rode a bulldozer and razed it, but I razed it"
"If it was proved that they were convicted the criminal assault on me, their groves would be flattened. In any case, according to the Iraqi state law, the government has the right to takeover any land for the national interest, with a symbolic compensation.
"I changed this and I made it a significant compensation. That was a change I ordered, your honour…"
"... I remember that people from Dujail came and begged me to return the lands.
"So I did, even though they received compensations. I returned it without asking for the compensations back. I returned the lands to them. It's the nation's right to appropriate and to compensate.
"Where is the crime? Where is the crime?
Saddam asked for his
co-defendants to be freed
"Why am I telling you I did it? Because I signed the decree. If I didn't want to sign, I wouldn't have signed, because the attack happened against me, no one could force me to sign the decree.
"So why are you bringing this man, this farmer from Dujail. (referring to one of the co-defendants)
"And you've brought the head of the Revolutionary Court because he tried them. If I had wanted, I wouldn't have sent them to the Revolutionary Court.
"I did send them to the Revolutionary Court. And they were tried according to the law, just as you are trying (us). So Awad (Bandar, former head of the court and a co-defendant) tried them according to the law, he had the right to try or to acquit according to the law and according to his own judgment.
"In the tough times, Saddam Hussein carries people on his shoulders"
"If the chief figure makes thing easy for you by saying he was the one responsible, then why are you going after these people, detaining them and searching for one who was responsible?
"You mean, Saddam Hussein would say when he was leader, 'I am responsible, then when things get tough, he would say, 'No, Abdullah was responsible?' (referring to Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid, another co-defendant)
"No, Saddam Hussein would not do that, and you know that. He's not the type to do that. In the tough times, Saddam Hussein carries people on his shoulders..."
Let the others go
"…If putting a defendant on trial on charges of shooting at a head of state, whatever his name, is considered a crime, then you have the head of state in your hands. Why are you trying other people? They were not presidents, there was only one.
"The head of state is here, so try him, and let the others go their way.
"If nothing in the law gives the right for the Revolutionary Command Council to decide to appropriate land and give its owners compensation, the head of the Revolutionary Command Council is here in your hands (for trial)."