Anfal charges dropped for Saddam Hussein

Compounding the error of hanging him, the Iraqi High Tribunal has chosen to drop all charges against Saddam Hussein in the ongoing trial about the Anfal campaign. He was convicted earlier for the killing of 148 civilians in Dujail, but the campaign against the Kurds in Anfal between 1986 and 1989 killed more than 100,000 people and involved the use of chemical weapons including Sarin.

The brutality and illegality of this campaign has been used by many to bolster the assertion that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a criminal, and that the American-led invasion and occupation have been justified. It has also been used by those critical of the United States, particularly because some of the weapons used were almost certainly provided to Iraq by the United States and other western or NATO powers, either during or before the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). In March of 1986, the President of the United Nations Security Council issued the following statement:

[P]rofoundly concerned by the unanimous conclusion of the specialists that chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian troops… the members of the Council strongly condemn this continued use of chemical weapons in clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 which prohibits the use in war of chemical weapons.

(S/17911 and Add. 1, 21 March 1986)

The United States voted against the issuance of the statements, while the UK, Australia, France and Denmark abstained.

Those who hoped that there would at least be a proper investigation and documentation of the crimes committed under his regime will be disappointed. Likewise, those who hoped that further precedents about the use of chemical weapons by heads of state might be established in international law. The progression in Iraq seems less and less like one towards a democratic state governed by the rule of law.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

2 thoughts on “Anfal charges dropped for Saddam Hussein”

  1. Six co-defendants still face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the campaign codenamed Anfal.

    As such, many of the facts about what took place should emerge anyhow – though there won’t be specific attention paid to proving Hussein’s role.

  2. “As barbarians topple barbarians, lost in the midst of ever shifting good and evil, our only constant is feeling less human”

    Graffiti spotted near the Guinness Brewery, Dublin

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