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The Frans Van Anraat trial

Frans Van Anraat was prosecuted by the Dutch Court in 2005. Simon Minks was the public prosecutor who prosecuted Van Anraat Appeals case. Van Anraat, a Dutch trader, was initially found guilty of genocide charges but those were dropped in the Court of Appeals in The Hague for complicity in the participation of violations of the laws and customs of war for selling chemicals to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment.1

The Anfal trial including the trials of Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali

Both Saddam Hussein and his six co-defendants were prosecuted in Iraq by the Iraqi Special Tribunal headed by Chief Judge Mohammed al-Oreibi al-Khalifah.2  Though Saddam Hussein was executed in relation to a previous trial the rest of the co-defendants were charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the Anfal campaign. The co-defendants were as follows:

  • Saddam Hussein was tried in relation to the Anfal campaign on August 21st, 2006 but executed on December 5th, 2006 for his role in the Dujail Massacre which was unrelated to Anfal. The trial recessed in 2006 and continued in 2007 for the trials of six co-defendants in the Anfal campaign.
  • Ali Hassan al-Majid or ‘Chemical Ali’ was convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in relation to the Anfal Campaign and sentenced to death; however he was not executed until 2010.
  • Sultan Hashim Ahmed, former defence minister under Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to death in 2007 by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity. His execution has yet to be carried out. He remains in custody.
  • Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, ex-Republican Guard head, was sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has yet to be executed but remains in Iraqi jurisdiction
  • Farhan al-Jibouri, ex-military commander, was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • Sabir Abdul Aziz, ex-intelligence chief, was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Taher Muhammad al-Ani, ex-governor of Nineveh province was cleared of war crimes and crimes against humanity for lack of evidence.3

The Halabja trial

Four former leaders of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party were tried in Baghdad for planning and executing the attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in March 1988, in which 5,000 people were killed many thousands injured. The former regime was accused of using poisons such as mustard gas and VX on civilians in the attack, carried out in the final stages of the Iran-Iraq war. This trial was the seventh against former senior Ba’ath officials. Halabjans had waited two decades to see justice served. The most prominent defendant was Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam’s former military commander and intelligence chief, nicknamed ‘Chemical Ali’ for his role in the attacks. Other defendants include former defence minister Sultan Hashim, former military intelligence chief Sabir Duri and a former intelligence official, Farhan Multaq Jibouri.4

The trial of the crime of the Barzani disappearance

On May 3rd 2011 the Iraqi Supreme Court recognised the crimes committed against the Barzanis as an act of genocide and crimes against humanity. The Iraqi Supreme Court with Aso Mohammad as the presiding judge recognised it as genocide under Article 11 and crimes against humanity under Article 12 of the 1948 Genocide Convention. All six defendants were sentenced as follows:

  • Sadoon Shakr Mahmood, Saddam’s interior minister in 1983, was sentenced under the genocide Article 11 of the 1948 Genocide Convention to death by hanging and under crimes against humanity Article 12 of the Convention was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In his third conviction under the same Article 12, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. In his fourth conviction he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for crimes against humanity which he committed against the Barzanis.
  • Watban Ibrahim Hassan, Saddam’s half-brother, due to lack of evidence (according to documents of 1983) was found not guilty and the court decided to set him free.
  • Helmut Mizban Ibrahim, deputy prime minister and financial minister for the Saddam regime in 1983, was sentenced to life under Article 12, and under the same Article was also sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was sentenced to seven more years for torturing the Barzanis.
  • Hamid Yusuf Hamadi, secretary of the Iraqi president, was sentenced to 10 years for crimes against humanity, but was acquitted for the crime of genocide due to lack of evidence.
  • Tariq Aziz, member of the Revolutionary Leadership Council of the Ba’ath Party, was sentenced to life in prison under Article 11. Under Article 12, sections D and I, he received 15 years in prison. His third conviction for the torture of the Barzanis gave him seven years. His fourth conviction under Article 12 gave him further 10 years.
  • Sofian Mahir Hassan Commander of the Republican Guard, who in 1983 took part in detaining and killing of the Barzanis, under Article 11 (genocide) was sentenced to life imprisonment. Under Article 12, section W which defines the torture of the Barzanis he got seven years in prison.5

The Faylee genocide trial

On 29th November 2010, Iraqi Court of Justice sentenced three individuals to death for authorizing a number of the killings between the 1980s and 1990s. These were Sahdun Shakir, Mirzban Khizr and Aziz Salih. Two others accused of involvement in the killings received prison sentences of 15 years each. Furthermore, the Iraqi high criminal court found Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister Tariq Aziz guilty of committing crimes against Faylee Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war, sentencing him to 10 years in prison. He was convicted for displacing and killing Faylee Kurds.

  1. Trial. (2010) ‘Frans Van Anraat.’ Available at:

  2. BBC News. (2007) ‘Timeline: Anfal Trial. Accessible at:

  3. Human Rights Watch. (2006) ‘The Anfal Trial: Questions and Answers.’ Accessible at:

  4. Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), “Trial Highlights Halabja’s Agony”, 27 Feb 2009,

  5. Peyamner News Agency, (3 May 2011), The Court of the Crimes of Iraq (Iraqi Supreme Court) recognizes the anfal of the Barzanis as an act of genocide, reported by Ayad Kakayee