An Iraqi official says the chief judge in the genocide trial of former President Saddam Hussein has been sacked.

A government spokesman confirmed that the judge, Abdullah al-Amiri, has been relieved of his duties.

Media reports in Iraq say Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked the court to replace the judge, and the court obliged.

Prosecutors in the trial had accused the judge of bias toward Saddam.

Last week, the chief judge told Saddam that he had not been a dictator, and Saddam thanked the judge.

The former president and six co-defendants are accused of killing more than 180,000 Kurds in what is called the Anfal campaign in the late 1980s. The former officials are also accused of using poison gas against the Kurds.

The judge has maintained that he has been fair to both sides.

Earlier Tuesday, a Kurdish witness a former Kurdish guerrilla, Iskandar Mahmoud Abdul-Rahman removed his shirt in the Baghdad court to show what he said were scars caused by chemical attacks.

In earlier court sessions, other witnesses described how they and their family members suffered burns in poison gas attacks.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters and AFP.