Genocide Charges Against Saddam

Saddam Hussein testifies during his trial in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 15, 2006. Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for torture, illegal arrests and the killing of nearly 150 people from Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam in the town. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg, Pool)
AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg
The Iraq tribunal Tuesday announced new criminal charges against Saddam Hussein and six others for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in a 1980s crackdown against the Kurds, including the gassing of thousands of civilians in the village of Halabja.

The move paves the way for a second trial of the ousted ruler. Saddam is already on trial in the killing of Shiites in a town north of Baghdad. Under Iraqi law, the second trial could begin in at least 45 days.

Investigative judge Raid Juhi said the charges against Saddam and the others had been filed with another judge, who will review the evidence and order a trial date. The move is tantamount to an indictment under the Iraqi legal system.

In other developments:

  • President Tuesday urged Iraq to move quickly to form a unity government, calling on elected leaders "to stand up and do their job." He said the formation of a new government would give Iraqis confidence in their future. Mr. Bush's statement, during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters in the White House, came on the heels of a similar admonition by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a visit to Iraq.
  • A car bomb exploded Tuesday in an eastern Baghdad lot, killing at least 10 people and wounding 28 others, police said, in a large lot in Habibiyah, a poor, mostly Shiite area, police said. Iraqis go there to sell used cars.
  • Another bomb exploded outside a Baghdad home Tuesday, killing a woman and two of her sons, ages 9 and 12, police said. The attack destroyed the building housing two families. The woman's 13-year-old son was wounded in the bombing, as were two brothers of the second family, a police lieutenant said.
  • A car bomb parked near the home of a city council member in Samarra exploded as his son was leaving the house, police said. The son was not harmed, but one of his security guards was killed.
  • Nine more American troops died in Iraq, the U.S. military reported Monday, five of them, all Marines, in a vehicle accident in a remote, rain-soaked western area. Their deaths brought the number of service members killed so far this month to 13 — nearly half the number who died in all of March. Three more Americans — two Marines and a sailor — were missing in the Sunday accident in which a truck overturned near Asad air base.
  • Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll, now part of the newspaper's staff, remained in seclusion but was set to begin writing about her three-month captivity in Iraq. Since arriving in Boston, except for interviews with her employer, Carroll has avoided media, saying she wanted time to heal and time with her family, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.

    The case involves Saddam's role in Operation Anfal, a three-phase move against Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s. Anfal included the March 16 gas attack against Halabja in which 5,000 people, including women and children died.

    Human rights groups consider the Halabja attack one of the gravest atrocities allegedly committed by Saddam's regime.

    "These people were subjected to forced displacement and illegal detentions of thousands of civilians," Juhi said. "They were placed in different detentions centers. The villages were destroyed and burned. Homes and houses of worshippers and buildings of civilians were leveled without reason or a military requirement."

    Others accused in the Anfal case include Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan Majid, or "Chemical Ali," former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad, former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri, former Republican Guard commander Hussein al-Tirkiti, a former Nineveh provincial Gov. Taher Tafwiq al-Ani and another former top military commander, Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.

    Saddam and seven others have been on trial since Oct. 19 in a separate case — the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims following a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail. Iraqi authorities chose to try Saddam separately for various alleged crimes rather than lump all the cases into one proceeding.

    The Dujail trial was the first of what Iraqi authorities say could be up to a dozen proceedings. Saddam could face death by hanging of convicted in the Dujail case. It is unclear whether the sentence would be carried out while other trials were in progress.

    In December, a Dutch court sentenced chemicals merchant Frans van Anraat to 15 years in prison for selling Saddam's regime the chemicals used in the gas attacks. The ruling, the first ever dealing with atrocities under Saddam, concluded that the attacks constituted genocide.

    It had no jurisdiction to try Saddam, but prosecutors named Saddam and Chemical Ali as co-conspirators. The Iraqi tribunal has access to several weeks of testimony and evidence presented in court.

    One document was a government decree, number 4008, said to have been signed by Saddam on June 20, 1987 ordering "special artillery bombs to kill as many people as possible" in the Kurdish area. Special artillery, Dutch prosecutors said, meant chemical weapons.

    Chemical Ali was heard in an audio clip on April 21, 1988, ordering that people caught in the Kurdish areas "have to be destroyed ... must have their heads shot off." In another radio fragment he said "I will attack them with chemical weapons and kill them all."