“The fact that the Iraqi High Criminal Court has recognised many massacres against the Kurdish people as acts of genocide has created an important foundation for our efforts to promote wider international recognition. We are grateful for this recognition, and we also appreciate the efforts of some European parties and politicians who have also supported this case and who have endeavoured to widen the international recognition of the massacres against the Kurdish people as acts of genocide.”
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Inauguration Speech, 5 April 2012
Several bodies internationally have recognised the killings of Iraq Kurds by Saddam Hussein’s regime as genocide.
1993 - 1994
US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched an extensive investigation into the attack on the Kurds by Saddam Hussein’s regime and in 1993 concluded that it was genocide. HRW attempted to bring this to the forefront of the UN. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies' 1994 report on Iraq recognised that the Anfal was an act of genocide.
In 1993, the HRW produced a comprehensive report from the investigations titled “The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds”, which says that a charge of genocide is justified in the case of the Iraqi military operations in 1988, which it says far transcended legitimate counterinsurgency. The reasons HRW gives include the murder and disappearance of tens of thousands of non-combatants selected on the basis of their ethnic-national identity. It also cites the use of chemical and nerve agents against civilians; the near-total destruction of Kurdish assets and infrastructure; and the abandonment of large numbers of vulnerable people.
Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s government, the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) was established. It has since tried former senior Ba’ath Party, army, security and government officials for gross human rights violations. The trial for abuses committed during the Anfal campaign concluded on 24 June 2007, six months after Saddam Hussein was executed. Three of the six defendants - Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, and Ali Hassan al-Majid were sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ali Hassan al-Majid known as Chemical Ali was also convicted of genocide. The SICT Appeals Chambers confirmed the death sentences on 4 September 2007.
2005 - 2007
The issue lost momentum internationally until the trials of Saddam Hussein and his accomplices gained global media coverage after 2003. The Hague ruled that the actions against the Kurds constituted genocide in a landmark case in 2005 - the Frans Van Anraat Trial. The Iraqi High Tribunal found Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, and Ali Hassan al-Majid guilty of genocide in 2007, a milestone toward legitimizing international recognition of the genocide.
Since 2007, there has been an increased effort from the KRG towards the international recognition of the Anfal and other acts as genocide, especially by the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs.
The research institute Swiss Peace recognised the Anfal as genocide in 2008. Also in 2008 the Iraqi Presidential Council approved Resolution 26 ratifying a parliamentary resolution condemning the crimes of Saddam Hussein’s regime against the Kurds as acts of genocide. This resolution affirmed the previous parliamentary resolution that declared all acts committed against the Kurds in Iraq-Kurdistan by the former regime were to be considered genocide.
In 2009, several prominent Senators and Congressmen recognised the anniversary of the Anfal by calling for the Congress to recognise the Anfal as genocide. Later that year, the Swedish Socialist party recognised the Anfal as an act of genocide.
In March 2010, the Iraqi Supreme Court ruled that the 1988 attacks were indeed genocide.
In August 2011, The Iraqi Court of Justice, Iraqi Council of Representative, and the Iraq’s Parliament officially recognised the Faylee killings as genocide.