[JURIST] Ali Hassan al-Majid – Saddam Hussein's cousin known to the Western media as "Chemical Ali" [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] – and two other Hussein regime officials received death sentences Sunday for the slaughter of tens of thousands of Kurds during the Anfal campaign [HRW backgrounder] of 1988. The Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] sentenced two others to life in prison and acquitted a sixth defendant for lack of evidence. After he read his verdict, Chief Judge Mohammed al-Oreibi al-Khalifah said to al-Majid:
You gave the orders to the troops to kill Kurdish civilians and put them in severe conditions. You subjected them to wide and systematic attacks using chemical weapons and artillery. You led the killing of Iraqi villagers. You restricted them in their areas, burned their orchards, killed their animals. You committed genocide. [AP translation]
Al-Majid received five death sentences for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has repeatedly denied the allegations [JURIST report], stating that he does not know who used chemical weapons or "if they were ever used." Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was himself a co-defendant in the Anfal genocide trial [JURIST news archive] before he was executed [JURIST report] in December 2006 for other crimes. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.