Iraq's top judge removed over ties to Saddam party
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.