Reuters report by Luke Baker
Two years after he was found hiding in a hole near where he was born, the former Iraqi president and his co-defendants go on trial for their lives on charges of crimes against humanity for the killing of more than 140 Shi'ite Muslim men two decades ago.
Prosecutors say the men, from the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, were ordered killed after a failed attempt on the then leader's life as he visited the town in July 1982. Scores of families from Dujail are also said to have been persecuted.
The day in court for the former dictator has been long awaited by Iraqis, but it may not last long.
Sources close to the tribunal conducting the trial say the case may well be quickly adjourned, perhaps on the first day, so judges can study defense motions for a dismissal or delay.
Saddam's chief lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi, an Iraqi with little experience of major cases, including crimes against humanity, has said he intends to challenge the legitimacy of the court.
With less than 24 hours to go before the trial, it still has not been decided whether it will be carried live on TV or with a delay, but either way the world will see Saddam in court.
If proceedings are quickly adjourned, sources close to the court say it could be several weeks before they resume, probably after parliamentary elections are held in mid-December.
I saw Michael P. Scharf on NBC News this evening. He strikes me as a bright, young man fully prepared for the task before him. We are about to witness another history-making moment. Even if the procedings are not televised, daily reports will fill the air. A good time to have discussions with kids about what is happening.
Any time I need reminding that it isn't over yet, I check there. That is where I found the Reuters link and a lot more. (At this moment we are only a handful short of two thousand casualties.)
Bring ‘em on: Two US Marines and four guerillas killed in fighting near Rutba.
Bring ‘em on: Two police officers killed in drive-by shooting in Kirkuk. Two civilians killed in a suicide bomber attack on a funeral for a sheik in Samarra.
Bring ‘em on: Three civilians killed and seven wounded when gunmen attacked the al-Rahman mosque in Mahaweel. An adviser to the Iraqi Industry Minister killed by gunmen outside his home in Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed and seven wounded when a roadside bomb struck a joint U.S and Iraqi army patrol in Baiji. Eleven insurgents killed and 57 suspects arrested in a joint U.S and Iraqi army operation in Mahmudiya. Three men shot dead by U.S. Marines, who claimed the men had planted a roadside bomb near Haqlaniya. Aircraft then destroyed caves where weapons were said to be stored and made. About 12 insurgents killed in attack on US Marine base near Qusayba. Three guerillas killed by Marine helicopters in Karabila.
Bring ‘em on: Senior member of the Anbar provincial government and his bodyguard shot dead by gunmen in Ramadi.
Bring ‘em on: One civilian killed and two others injured Tuesday when a mortar shell slammed into their house in Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: At least five Iraqis were killed by militants on Tuesday. At least one of these deaths is documented in a post above, unclear on the others. In addition, the handcuffed and mutilated bodies of six Iraqis who had been kidnapped and killed in captivity were found in three locations of the capital.
Bring ‘em on: A U.S. fighter jet bombed a crowd gathered around a burned Humvee on the edge of a provincial capital in western Iraq, killing 25 people, including 18 children, hospital officials and family members said Monday. The military said the Sunday raid targeted insurgents planting a bomb for new attacks.
In all, residents and hospital workers said, 39 civilians and at least 13 armed insurgents were killed in a day of U.S. airstrikes in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, a Sunni Arab region with a heavy insurgent presence.
The U.S. military said it killed a total of 70 insurgents in Sunday's airstrikes and, in a statement, said it knew of no civilian deaths.
At Ramadi hospital, distraught and grieving families fought over body parts severed by the airstrikes, staking rival claims to what they believed to be pieces of their loved ones.