Saddam to go on trial in August for Kurd genocide
Saddam Hussein and his former top army commanders will go on trial on August 21 on charges of killing tens of thousands of Iraq's Kurds in 1988.india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 22:46 IST
Saddam Hussein and his former top army commanders will go on trial on August 21 on charges of killing tens of thousands of Iraq's Kurds in 1988 in a military operation to force them from their villages.
Kurds, whose northern region is still haunted by the seven-month "Anfal" campaign, have long sought justice and want the former president to face the death penalty, as he does in a current trial over killings of Shi'ites.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said seven defendants including Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, or "Chemical Ali", would stand trial in the new case.
All seven face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Saddam and Majeed face the additional graver charge of genocide, which also carries the death penalty. Saddam is currently being tried only for crimes against humanity.
"Anfal", meaning "spoils of war", is a term taken from a verse in the Koran that calls for terror to be struck into the hearts of unbelievers. Mustard gas and nerve agents were used in the attacks to drive villagers from their homes.
The campaign devastated Kurdistan, and the mountainous region bordering Turkey has never fully recovered. By some estimates 4,500 villages were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people killed, tortured or displaced.
"When Saddam and those accused with him are executed we will feel great relief," said Ibrahim Wadi, 31, who was detained along with his family during the campaign.