THE GLOBE, JULY 25, 2006
Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan-Iraq, –The President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, said on last Saturday that Kurdish government will pursue the foreign companies who sold chemical materials to the former Iraqi government of President Saddam Hussein.
Addressing a mass gathering of people from Halabja, President Barzani added “we will legally go after those who sold chemical weapons to Iraqi government or helped it to produce those weapons.”
However he added that “cull documentations” are needed to win a legal case against those companies in case of a trial.
He described a suit against such companies “as a two-edged sword” that would turn against its user, if mishandled.
In 1988, in the closing weeks of Iraq-Iran war, Iraq gassed the Kurdish town of Halabja, on the border with Iran, resulting in the death of more than 5000 civilians. Last year a Dutch court convicted Frans Van Anraat, a Dutch businessman, of selling chemical materials to Saddam’s regime. Iraq also used those weapons against Iranian tropes during its eight-year war with Iran.
The remarks by Barzani came a few weeks before the start of the trial of the top officials of the former Ba’ath regime, due in August, for massacring Kurds during the 1980s in notorious Anfal campaigns. During those campaigns more than 150,000 civilian Kurds were killed.
The top defendants of the Kurdish massacre are Saddam Hussein and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, labeled as Chemical Ali by Kurds for his role in the gassing the Kurdish town.
Barzani, however, acknowledged that Kurds have not been able so far to find documents proving Halabja’s massacre in a court of law. “They have either destroyed those documents or have done (the gassing) in a way that will not become a trials subject,” President Barzani explained to the gathering. “But this does not mean that the crime of killing 5,000 people within a few minutes will be hidden and lost.”
Barzani, who is on a week-long visit to Sulaimaniyah, promised that his government will persistently try to find documents on the killing of Kurds by the former regime. That was for the second time that Barzani toured Sulaimaniyah since his assuming the office of Kurdistan president last year.