The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed yesterday, during the session four witnesses for the defence admitted lying during their testimony.
They claim that they had been bribed and threatened.
One claimed that he only gave evidence for the defence, after one of his sons was kidnapped. He alleged that a son of one of Saddam's co-defendants, Mohammad Azzawi Ali, told him:
"You have three days to decide whether to testify or not, otherwise we'll kill your youngest son."
Other witnesses claim that they were paid $500, and coached to give testimony.
The claims were read out by a judge, and were denied by the defence. Indeed, Saddam chose to suggest that it was the prosecution who had been threatening witnesses.
He then went on to grandstand, as is his common practice in this trial, about the violence in Iraq.
"How do you expect people, thinking they're going to be subjected to the same fate, not to change their testimony?"
An American lawyer for the defence, Curtis F.J. Doebbler, also claimed that the four defence witnesses had been beaten. He went on to complain that the defence had not been able to visit Dujail or visit certain witnesses.
None of this adds credibility to the trial. As noted before, a Nuremberg style trial outside of Iraq would have served the Iraqi people better.
As now looks likely, by the time the trials of Saddam have been concluded, Iraq will have ceased to exist to witness punishment.