Baghdad: The Iraqi panel tasked with purging government ranks of former members of Saddam Hussein`s party said on Thursday that it has removed the country`s top judge from his post because of alleged ties to the now-dissolved Baath party.
The removal of Chief judge Medhat al-Mahmoud from the leadership of the Supreme Judicial Council and the Supreme Federal Court was not expected to spark a political outcry, unlike some previous dismissals of politicians and government officials.
The deputy chief of the country`s Justice and Accountability Committee, Bakhtiar Omar al-Qadhi, said the decision taken yesterday was based on "strong evidence" supplied by Parliament.
"We received an official document from the parliament showing that he was one of the former regime`s henchmen," al-Qadhi told a news agency in a phone interview. He wouldn`t discuss the details, saying that al-Mahmoud has 60 days to appeal.
If the judge does not appeal, he will have to either retire or accept a lower post, he added.
The 80-year old al-Mahmoud started his carrier in 1960 when he was appointed as an investigative judge. After the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, he was chosen by the Coalition Provisional Authority as a supervisor for the Justice Ministry, and in 2005 he took over both the Supreme Federal Court and the Supreme Judicial Council that oversees courts nationwide.