"This is Judicial Ethics 101: You don't remove a judge just because you don't like what he says," said Nehal Bhuta, a lawyer with the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, an observer of the tribunal. "This suggests to me that the government of Nouri al-Maliki doesn't have a basic grasp of the independence of the judiciary."
If Nehal had gone on to Judicial Ethics 102, he might have learned that impartial judges do not commiserate with defendants during the trial, and they do not pronounce judgment on significant findings of fact before the trial is concluded. To tell Saddam that he was not a dictator is to essentially exonerate him of wrongdoing. If he was acting as a legitimate head of state, then what does he stand accused of? Putting down rebellions against the state? How could that have been against the law? As Saddam has already asked, "Where is the crime?"
As I have said before, Saddam could not have broken the law. He was the law. He was guilty of being a dictator, but there is no legal authority over and above the law of a dictator under which he can be accused and tried. When a dictator is overthrown, therefore, the only proper way to treat him is to stand him against a wall and shoot him.
Given that this judge has demonstrated his prejudice towards the defendant in the courtroom, the government is obliged to remove him. If the judiciary is going to be independent, it must also be impartial. If it is not impartial, then it must be checked by the other branches of government.