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Netherlands high court upholds conviction of Saddam chemical weapons supplier

[JURIST] The Dutch Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday upheld [judgment, in Dutch] the 2005 war crimes conviction [JURIST report] of a Dutch businessman convicted of selling chemicals used by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] to create chemical weapons. Frans Van Anraat [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was convicted of selling 1,100 tons of thiodiglycol (TDG) to the Iraqi government in the 1980s, which was used to produce mustard gas used against Iraqis and Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The court found that the record, including Van Anraat's continuing role as Iraq's sole supplier of TDG after the death of 5,000 Iraqis in the 1988 Hajabla attack [JURIST report], showed that his participation was intentional. The court did not address damage awards for the victims of Saddam's gas attacks that had sued Van Anraat, saying the matter was "too complicated," and took six months off of Van Anraat's 17-year sentence to compensate for a long trial wait.

Prior to the Supreme Court hearing the case, Van Anraat had appealed his conviction on charges of complicity in war crimes to the Court of Appeal, which also upheld the conviction [judgment, in Dutch] in May 2007. Dutch prosecutors have appealed [JURIST report] Van Anraat's acquittal on complicity in genocide charges, which carry an additional 30-year sentence if proven. Saddam Hussein also stood trial on genocide charges related to the Anfal Campaign [HRW backgrounder], including the Halabja attacks, but was executed [JURIST op-ed] on unrelated charges before trial was complete.

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