An Iraqi court on Monday sentenced former foreign minister Tariq Aziz [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to 10 years in prison for his involvement with the displacement and killing of minority Shiite Kurds during Saddam Hussein's rule in the 1980s. Aziz received a lesser sentence [Bloomberg report] compared to other co-conspirators whom the Iraqi court found had greater involvement with the genocide of the Shiite Kurds and sentenced them to death by hanging. The 10-year sentence is the third judgment against Aziz, adding to his March 2009 conviction for murder and his recent death sentence [JURIST reports] for efforts to eliminate Shiite Muslim resistance efforts after the First Gulf War. Despite the existing death sentence and the significant number of years of imprisonment already imposed by Iraqi courts, several other charges against Aziz [Guardian report] are still pending.
Aziz could have received the death penalty in this case for his actions against the Kurds, but the court did not impose that sentence and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has indicated that he will not sign a death warrant [JURIST report] for Aziz's existing sentence. Earlier this month, Aziz's lawyer filed a petition [JURIST report] for pardon of his death sentence on the grounds that the prosecution did not meet their burden of proof. Aziz's family has also called for his release on health grounds, claiming he has had two heart attacks and suffered a stroke [JURIST report] in January. Aziz has been in prison since 2003.