Gunmen kill Iraqi judge and son working for tribunal trying Saddam.

Gunmen on Tuesday shot dead an Iraqi judge and his son who both worked for a tribunal set up to try ousted president Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants, court sources said Wednesday.

In a second incident Tuesday, gunmen shot three times and seriously wounded investigative judge Wayed al-Jadr moments after he left his courthouse in eastern Baghdad, an Iraqi justice official said.

The two attacks were the latest in a campaign by insurgents to derail Iraq's legal system. Insurgents have killed 20 judges across Iraq since Saddam's regime was toppled in April 2003, the official said.

Judge Barwize Mohamed Marwane and his son Arayane were gunned down as they stepped out of their home Tuesday in the northern Baghdad district of Adhamiyah, the court sources said.

Marwane was an investigative judge on the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try Saddam other former regime officials and his son worked as a court clerk, they said. Both were Kurds.

They were the first known members of the tribunal to be killed.

The court, set up in December 2003, said Monday that Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti, his former vice president Taha Yasin Ramadan and three others would be the first to go on trial.

The case will not begin for at least 45 days, it said.

The five are to be tried for the 1982 killing of 143 residents of Dujail, a village northeast of Baghdad. They are accused of carrying out revenge murders after Dujail villagers allegedly tried to assassinate Saddam.

A Western legal expert said Monday the tribunal's work had been impaired by security threats but refused to comment on whether any members had been killed or wounded. There are 30 judges employed by the tribunal.

Investigative judges are still working to build cases against Saddam, his first cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid and other senior Baath party members.

Saddam and his former officials are expected to be charged with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity for the murder of Kurds and Shiites over the course of the Baath party's 35-year reign.

The Iraqi Special Tribunal has the power to impose the death sentence.

[Source: Agence France Presse, Baghdad, 02Mar05]

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