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.