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Iraq tribunal charges Saddam with genocide against Kurds

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Criminal Court [official website; JURIST news archive] announced Tuesday that new genocide and crimes against humanity charges have been filed against Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and six others in his former regime's crackdown against the Kurds during the 1980s. The new charges were filed with a different judge than the one handling his current trial for the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiite villagers in Dujail [JURIST report]. According to Iraqi law, the second trial against Saddam may begin in as soon as 45 days. The charges stem from Saddam's role [JURIST report] in Operation Anfal [HRW backgrounder] that culminated in a gas attack [BBC report] against Kurds in the village of Halabja [US State Dept. backgrounder], which killed 5,000 civilians including women and children. The current Operation Anfal charges, however, do not cover the Halabja attack. Court spokesman Raid Juhi has said that there will be a separate trial on that attack. Reuters has more. The Saddam Hussein Trial Blog has background on whether Operation Anfal constitutes genocide.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] also said Tuesday that he expects Saddam to be tried in all the cases against him before the court reaches a final verdict. Authorities have said there could be up to a dozen proceedings against the former dictator and each case could result in a death sentence if the court finds him guilty. Reuters has more.

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