Alleged Crimes;

On July 8, 1982, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was visiting the town of Dujail (50 miles north of Baghdad) when a group of Dawa militants shot at his motorcade. In reprisal for this assassination attempt, the entire town was punished. More than 140 fighting-age men were apprehended and never heard from again. Approximately 1,500 other townspeople, including children, were rounded up and taken to prison, where many were tortured. After a year or more in prison, many were exiled to a southern desert camp. The town itself was destroyed; houses were bulldozed and orchards were demolished.

Saddam Hussein’s ‘Anfal’ (Arabic for “spoils”) campaign against Iraq’s Kurds in 1988, which killed an estimated 180,000 civilians, has been widely described as genocide.

Up to 200,000 Iraqi troops rounded up civilians, and razed villages. Once rounded up, the civilians were divided into two groups: men from ages of about 13 to 70 and women, children, and elderly men. The men were then shot and buried in mass graves. The women, children, and elderly were taken to relocation camps where conditions were deplorable. In a few areas, especially areas that put up even a little resistance, everyone was killed.

It is estimated that chemical weapons were used on approximately 40 Kurdish villages, with the largest of these attacks occurring on March 16, 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja.

Beginning in the morning on March 16, 1988 and continuing all night, the Iraqis rained down volley after volley of bombs filled with a deadly mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents on Halabja. Immediate effects of the chemicals included blindness, vomiting, blisters, convulsions, and asphyxiation. Approximately 5,000 women, men, and children died within days of the attacks. Long-term effects included permanent blindness, cancer, and birth defects. An estimated 10,000 lived, but live daily with the disfigurement and sicknesses from the chemical weapons.

Saddam Hussein also used chemical weapons not only against the Kurds but also against Iranian soldiers during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops invaded the country of Kuwait. The six-week, Persian Gulf War pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 1991. As the Iraqi troops retreated, they were ordered to light oil wells on fire. Over 700 oil wells were lit, burning over one billion barrels of oil and releasing dangerous pollutants into the air. Oil pipelines were also opened, releasing 10 million barrels of oil into the Gulf and tainting many water sources. The fires and the oil spill created a huge environmental disaster.

At the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, southern Shiites and northern Kurds rebelled against Hussein’s regime. In retaliation, Iraq brutally suppressed the uprising, killing thousands of Shiites in southern Iraq.

As supposed punishment for supporting the Shiite rebellion in 1991, Saddam Hussein’s regime killed thousands of Marsh Arabs, bulldozed their villages, and systematically ruined their way of life. The Marsh Arabs had lived for thousands of years in the marshlands located in southern Iraq until Iraq built a network of canals, dykes, and dams to divert water away from the marshes. The Marsh Arabs were forced to flee the area, their way of life decimated.

By 2002, satellite images showed only 7 to 10 percent of the marshlands left. Saddam Hussein is blamed for creating another environmental disaster.

Saddam’s widespread use of torture against political opponents, the repression of the Shi’ites in the south of Iraq after their failed uprising in 1991, and the destruction and persecution of the Marsh Arabs would all count as crimes against humanity. It is estimated that altogether Saddam Hussein was responsible for the murder of 400,000 of his own civilians. There is also substantial evidence that Iraqi forces committed war crimes, including the execution of enemy captives, during both the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on December 30, 2006.
Saddam Hussein’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid (known as Chemical Ali), who was directly in charge of the chemical attacks against the Kurds, was also executed by hanging on January 25, 2010.


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