As his trial resumed in Baghdad, the former Iraqi president told the court: "I respect Iraqi courts, I would like you to seize any opportunity to reveal the truth, and as the general prosecutor showed all the evidence he wanted to show, I urge you to let the defence team to do the same."

 

Saddam's intervention came after his defence team asked the judge to allow them to show a video as evidence.

 

The judge promised to look into the request after listening to all the witnesses.

 

But the general prosecution intervened, saying the video should be presented to the general prosecutor first.

 

Jaafar al-Musawi, the general prosecutor, said: "Please let me read article 41 of the law."

 

He read the article, which says evidence should be presented through the general prosecutor.

 

The defence team rejected the argument and said the law states that prosecution evidence should also be presented to the defence team before it is shown in the court.

 

The defence team said it had decided to ask to submit the video because they saw the general prosecutor neglecting the law.

 

"The general prosecutor wants to apply the law when it serves him but not when it comes to the benefit of the defence team and the defendants," an Iraqi on Saddam's team said.     

 

Free evidence flow

 

Tuesday's session of the trial started with the judge asking the defence team to submit a final list of their defence witnesses.

 

Raouf Abd Al-Rahman, the chief judge, said: "You have to submit a final list of your witnesses, we already listened to several groups of your wirnesses but we cannot continue like this, you have to specify your witnesses."

 

Ziad al-Najdawi, the Jordanian member of the defence team, rejected the judge's request and argued that the law secured the defence's right to submit its evidence in any way it saw appropriate as long as it would serve the final end, revealing the truth.

 

Protecting witnesses

Muhammad al-Dib, an Egyptian lawyer on the defence team for Taha Yasin Ramadan, the former deputy prime minister, asked the judge for help in protecting their witnesses.

 

He said, holding a paper: "The authorities have informed me they need a clear decision from the court, so here I am your honour, I am submitting an official request to instruct the authorities to protect our witnesses."

 

The Iraqi lawyer revealed that one of the defence witnesses who testified in a previous session had been killed.