Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Saddam Hussein Trial Resumes on September 11th

After a three week recess, Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants returned to the courtroom in Baghdad to face charges of crimes against humanity carried out during the Anfal campaign in 1988, in which according to prosecutors, 182,000 against Kurdish perished at the hands of the Ba’athist government. In addition, Saddam and Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, face charges of genocide. All defendants face the death penalty.

Since the start of the trial in August, the court has heard testimonies from several Kurdish witnesses to the poison gas attacks during the Anfal campaigns. According to the New York Times, at the trial’s resumption on September 11th, Katrin Elias Michael, a Christian Kurdish freedom fighter now residing in the United States, recalled the scene of poison gas air raids as she had witnessed them: “I saw hundreds of people, not dozens but hundreds of people. They were vomiting and their eyes were watering. They complained of having sore stomachs.” She demanded retribution against not only Saddam and other members of the Iraqi government responsible for the attacks, but also against “all the international organizations or companies which provided the Iraqi regime with [chemical] weapons."

Earlier in August, Saddam refused to enter a plea with the court, and his defense counsel filed a petition claiming the court to be illegal. The court, however, rejected the petition and entered a “not guilty” plea for both the former president and al-Majid, who also refused to plead. Saddam accused the Kurdish witnesses against him of treachery by trying to incite sectarian conflict between the Kurds and Arabs and destabilize the country. The defense argued that the Anfal campaign was carried out during the Iran- Iraq war against Kurdish Peshmerga rebels siding with the Iranian government. Civilians were claimed to have been evacuated before all such attacks.

For full New York Times article, click here
For full New York Times article, click here
For full BBC News article, click here


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