The second trial of Saddam Hussein and co-defendant and cousin Ali Hassan Al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, is underway in Baghdad. The witness phase over, the trial moved on Wednesday to the documentary evidence. While the first trial, which resulted in a death sentence, was in respect of crimes against humanity that took place after a failed assassination attempt in the town of Dujail in 1982 in which 148 civilians were executed in revenge, this trial centres around the chemical attacks on Kurdish villages during the Anfal campaign during the latter half of the nineteen eighties. As many a hundred thousand people died.

Prior to the chemical attacks some eight thousand men of the Kurdish Barzani clan disappeared, after having declared loyalty to Iran in the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988). It is supposed the men have been executed and are rumoured to have been buried on a terrain south of Baghdad near the town of Diwanya. Kurdish Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Ihsan, has been trying for months to unearth evidence in the matter. His investigations first brought them to a town near the Kurdish oil centre of Kirkuk, where a group of women gave testimony about the disappearance of their loved ones. A treasure trove of documents from Saddam’s secret police yielded documentary evidence as well.

In Diwanya, in the absence of the village elder who had been fiercely loyal to Saddam Hussein in the past, extensive talks took place to get the villagers to speak out and testify about the alleged executions and whereabouts of the human remains. Bribes yielded a hint about a nearby field where human bones are known to have been found. After examination it turned out the remains were of a group of unknown young men, most likely unconnected with the Anfal.

The Dutch businessman Van Anraat has already been convicted in December for supplying Saddam with the chemicals required for the Kurdish attack.

Sources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3850989.stm

Netwerk Television

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