Saddam to be 'executed by end of year' BBC WORLD Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has told the BBC he expects Saddam Hussein to be executed by the end of 2006. In an interview with John Simpson in Baghdad, Mr Maliki said the decision to hang the former president would not be affected by any pressure. "We would like the whole world to respect the judicial will of Iraq," he told the BBC. The former Iraqi leader was sentenced to death two days ago after being convicted of crimes against humanity. During the interview, Mr Maliki also said the Iraqi army would be ready within months to take over the main role in fighting the insurgency - a forecast which correspondents say many senior US military figures may view with scepticism. Asked how he felt looking back at the US and UK occupation of Iraq, Mr Maliki had criticism of their handling of the period. "We thought that when the United States and the United Kingdom forces were preparing to go into Iraq, they would have a clear understanding about Iraq, socially, politically and security-wise," he said. "But there was no adequate planning for the period after regime change. The leaders on the ground had no knowledge of understanding of the situation in Iraq." Our correspondent says this is the fiercest public criticism any Iraqi leader has made of the occupation and clearly reflects great frustration. Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death on Sunday but appeared in court again on Tuesday to continue his trial on a different set of charges which also carry the death penalty. The former president is being tried with six others - all different from his previous co-defendants - for his role in a military campaign against ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s. More than 180,000 people are alleged to have died in the Anfal campaign. Judicial timetable It is not clear if the Iraqi authorities will wait until the second trial is complete before they carry out the sentence in the first case. An automatic appeal against the guilty verdict will be launched, to be decided by a panel of nine judges. If the death sentence is upheld, the execution must be carried out within 30 days. Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging after being found guilty over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982. Saddam Hussein was subdued in court on Tuesday, in contrast to his defiance on Sunday as his death sentence was read out. Speaking to the court in the afternoon session, he cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who had opposed them. "I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands," the former president told the court. His call for mutual reconciliation came after he had respectfully challenged one witness' testimony. Tuesday's first witness told the court that he and other men from his village had surrendered to Iraqi soldiers after being promised an amnesty. Qahar Khalil Mohammed, a Kurd, then told the court how they were lined up and shot by the soldiers. He said he survived despite several wounds, but 33 other people from his village died. Saddam Hussein rebutted the testimony, saying there was nobody who could verify Mr Mohammed's account. The trial has been adjourned and will be resumed Wednesday. More trials are possible over Saddam Hussein's response to a 1991 Shia uprising and the repression of the people of Iraq's southern marshlands.