Iraqi state TV says that court to change judge in Saddam Hussein trial

The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial was replaced Tuesday, the government spokesman said.

Abdullah al-Amiri was replaced on the five-member by Mohammed al-Uraibiy, who was his deputy in the trail, said a court source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Al-Uraibiy is a Shiite Arab, the source said.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh said that the prime minister exercised his right under court regulations to transfer a judge to another, higher court, reports AP.

There was no reason given on why al-Amiri was replaced but the request came from the Iraqi High Tribunal, according to a government source, which also asked not to be named for the same reasons. The request was made in a letter to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who approved it, he said.

The transfer was apparently due to his behavior toward Saddam, the court source said.

Prosecutors had asked for al-Amiri to be replaced after he allowed Saddam to lash out at Kurdish witnesses. Last week, al-Amiri stirred further controversy after he told the ex-president that "you were not a dictator."