Ali Hassan al-Majid, aka "Chemical Ali", has today demanded that the trial accusing him and 14 other former regime officials for crimes against humanity be adjourned for a month.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, who is due to be hanged after his conviction for genocide in a separate trial, and his co-defendants are accused of having overseen the killing of up to 100,000 Shiites.
Majid and another defendant Ibrahim Abdul Razzaz said that their lawyers were afraid to attend the court, and had asked for protection from the US military which was refused.
Majid told judge Mohammed al-Khalifah al-Oreibi:
"My brothers here have some demands.
They said they would stop eating and drinking if their lawyers are not back. They need more negotiations (with the US military). I don't think this will take more than one month.
I ask that we adjourn the trial for one month so that we can come up with a solution."
Judge Oreibi noted his comments but then went on to call the first witness of the day, an old man who spoke from behind a curtain.
"The tanks started to shell our houses. There were lots of soldiers. I told my family to run away. The soldiers took my two sons.
They were rounding up all the young men of the village. One of the boys resisted so they shot him dead. I saw it with my own eyes. Many houses were destroyed."
The trial continues.