By Omar Fekeiki
Special to the Washington Post
Monday, April 3, 2006 12:12 PM
BAGHDAD, April 3 -- The chief prosecutor for the tribunal trying Saddam Hussein said he received Monday the investigating judge's file on the ousted leader's role in the 1988 Anfal campaign against Kurdish rebels in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed.
Jaafar al-Mousawi said the documents will allow the case to proceed and be assigned to a second criminal panel that will set a date for the initial court session on the Anfal events. "We have all the documents ready," he said.
Hussein is currently standing trial with seven codefendants before the Iraqi special court in the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiite Muslim villagers in Dujail, north of Baghdad, following an assassination attempt against him as he traveled through the town. The next session is set for Wednesday.
A trial in the Anfal case is not expected soon.
According to Mousawi, more than eight defendants, all former government members, will be charged with crimes against humanity in the Anfal case.
In addition to Hussein, they include Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, nicknamed Chemical Ali for his role in the killing of more than 5,000 Kurds in the gassing of Halabja, a city in Kurdistan on the borders with neighboring Iran, in March 1987; and Sabir al-Douri, a member of the former regional Baath Party leadership who was in charge of military intelligence at the time the Anfal massacre took place.
At least eight of the defendants are in captivity now, Mousawi said. The rest will either be tried in absentia or the court might ask for the help of the Interpol in apprehending them, he added.
Mousawi said that according to Iraqi law, the court is obliged to inform the defense team of the results of the Anfal investigation and to provide at least 45 days' notice of the date of the actual trial.
A 1993 Human Rights Watch report issued following the discovery of key Iraqi documents pertaining to Anfal cited the deaths of as many as 100,000 noncombatants in the campaign.