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'Chemical Ali' defends taped promises to wipe out Kurds as genocide trial continues

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] heard more tapes on Tuesday in which the voice of defendant Ali Hassan al-Majid [JURIST news archive; BBC profile] vowed to "leave no Kurd [alive] who speaks the Kurd language" and to "wipe them out." The genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline] of al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] known to the Western media as "Chemical Ali," resumed last week. Following the December 30 execution of Hussein [JURIST report], the trial has focused on al-Majid and five other former Hussein regime officials alleged to be instrumental in the deaths of some 180,000 Kurds during the so-called "Anfal" campaigns [HRW backgrounder] of the 1980s.

Al-Majid told the court that his anti-Kurdish statements were used as a battle tactic to intimidate the "anti-government forces" against which he fought. In other portions of the tapes, al-Majid was heard referring to current Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [official website, in Arabic; BBC profile] as a "wicked and a pimp" for attempting to reach a truce. After refusing to make an opening statement in the absence of his lawyer, Al-Majid told the court he would face death "with open arms." AFP has more. AP has additional coverage.

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