April 14: The Annual Memorial of
Kurds are Victims of Iraq’s
April 2008 marks 20 years of the genocide of Anfal.
However, the repercussions of the Anfal genocide
still trouble the Kurdish people. Little has been
done; many important issues have been forgotten, and
furthermore, there are continued injustices, abuses,
and offences against the victims of genocide and the
Kurdish nation in general. Victimized families lack
the critical needs of life, and compensations still
have not been given to them. With a few exceptions
that have shown up recently due to the annual event
of Anfal, the promises generated from several
conferences arranged by the Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG) and its president are not practiced
yet. Kurdish mass graves in southern Iraq are still
waiting to be exhumed and investigated, and the
victims’ families are still waiting for remains of
their loved ones. No authorities seem concerned
about the young girls who were sold to Arabic
countries under the genocide. For instance, the case
of some 18 Kurdish girls sold to Egypt in 1988 was
rejected by the Egyptian authority, and no authority
investigated that or similar cases. Permitting Tariq
Hashmi, the former Baathist, to visit Halabja and
demand freedom on behalf of Sultan Hashim, one of
the main perpetrators of genocide, was insulting to
Kurds and victims’ families in particular.
Giving the sensitive case of Anfal genocide to an
Arabic, Iraqi, dependent, partial, and weak court
(the Iraqi High Criminal Court, or IHCC) is an
historical injustice against Kurds and the victims’
families. IHCC is a part of the political rebuilding
process that has put limits on the legal process.
Interests of victims have been ignored, the law of
the court includes critical and pro-Arab Iraqi laws.
Arabization and its specific characters are not
named in the law, Arab judges led the Anfal trial,
and Arabic is the official language of the court.
Chemical companies and foreign traders are not
prosecuted, much like the agreement between the UN
and Iraqi regime in 1993, which agreed not to
prosecute the chemical companies. Kurdish witnesses
and complainers did not get fair treatment, and many
perpetrators were protected and were not charged
Instead of taking care of the interests of the
victims, Kurdish leaders have protected and even
defended perpetrators. For instance, they defended
Nazar al-Xazeaji, Wafiq al-Samariy, and now Sultan
Hashim. Furthermore, they protected and hid local
perpetrators “the Jash.” They are too involved in
the courts’ decisions.
Unlike other victimized nations of genocide, the
Kurdistan Regional Government does not have any
special local court designed to prosecute the
perpetrators living in Kurdistan territory, and it
does not have any future plans to create one, in
spite of the fact that the courts in Kurdistan
regions, like other courts in Iraq, are not
independent and are under the influence of the
From the beginning of the Anfal trial, there have
been frequent problems of weakness, incapability,
partiality, and political interference. Political
interests of Iraq, an Islamic and Arabic mentality,
and national and ethnic interests were all evident
throughout the trial and ultimately affected the
legal proceedings. IHCC started the trials by
focusing on the Dujail case, which is a small and
insignificant case compared to the Anfal genocide.
IHCC sentenced Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi
president, to death on the Dujail crime. Thus, the
court assured a quick death to Saddam, as was
planned in the law of the court. Somehow, in a
political agreement, Saddam ended up in the Muqtada
al-Sadr militia’s hands and was killed soon after,
while the Anfal trial was ongoing. IHCC dropped the
charges on Saddam Hussein in connection with the
Anfal crime; thus, the court freed the main
perpetrator of genocide legally. The guilt of
genocide was removed from the Iraqi state and its
president and transferred to some Baath leaders.
IHCC denied attributing the genocide to Iraq as a
state and institution. IHCC and Iraqi politicians
intentionally planned this from the beginning.
The Anfal trial was in Arabic, a language that is
disliked by many Kurds. Many do not understand
Arabic, which was the case for many Kurdish
witnesses and complainants. The public prosecutor
was weak and affected by the political interest of
Iraq. He also demonstrated an Islamic and Arabic
mentality, as evident in his speeches and reports.
Abdullah al-Amry, the first judge of the Anfal
trial, was obviously partial to Saddam Hussein. Al-Amry
made several irrelevant and biased comments, such
as, “Who said Anfal is genocide?” and, talking to
Saddam, “Who said you are a dictator?” He defended
Iraq’s integrity by saying, “Iraq cannot be
separated,” and so on.
Interference in the court’s final decision permitted
Tahr Tofiq Yusif al-Ani to be freed, and both Sabr
Abd al-Aziz al-Dury and Farhan Mtlag Salh al-Jbury
escaped the death penalty. Three perpetrators, Ali
Hasan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”), Sultan Hashm Ahmad
al-Taiy, and Hussein Rashid al-Tikrity, were found
guilty of crimes of genocide and sentenced to death.
The latest scandal of political involvement in the
court’s decision involves attempts to change the
verdict and save the lives of Sultan Hashim and
Hussein Rashid, two Sunni Arab leaders. According to
the law of IHCC and the Iraqi constitution, the
verdict cannot be changed and must be implemented
within 30 days. American, Sunni Arab, and some
Kurdish leaders are involved in that. It seems that
political interests are more important than the
implementation of the biased laws that Iraqi
politicians and America itself has made. The public
prosecutor, who demanded the death penalty before,
has now changed his mind and supports overturning
the sentence. The political game is ongoing, and it
is not clear what the destinies of the perpetrators
The attempts to change the verdict are insulting to
Kurdish people, especially victims’ families. It is
strange that the Kurdish leaders are also involved
in this scandal; rarely are political leaders from a
victimized nation trying to save the lives of the
primary perpetrators of the genocide of their own
people. If America and the Arabs are acting on
behalf of their own political interests and
committing injustices against the Kurdish people,
what are the Kurdish leaders trying to prove by
allowing it? No matter who is involved in this
scandal, this is a cruel offence against the Kurdish
nation, the victims of the crime of genocide.
Prior to the establishment of the IHCC, the Center
of Halabja against Anfalization and Genocide of
Kurdish People (CHAK) required a neutral
international tribunal for crimes committed against
the Kurds. However, this demand was ignored, and now
we witness scandal after scandal in which the Kurds
are the main victims. In other words, the Kurds are
victims of the political interests of post-Saddam
Iraq. Therefore, the legal and political injustices
make an international tribunal more necessary than
What’s more, the Iraqi government has not yet
apologized to the Kurdish people on behalf of the
Iraqi state. As an institution, the Iraqi state is
guilty of the crime of genocide, and it must
apologize to the Kurdish nation, regardless of who
is governing Iraq.
CHAK supports both the requirements of victims’
families and the following demands:
Interference in court must stop.
Stop insulting the Kurdish victims of genocide and
the Kurdish nation in general.
The KRG must react, condemn, and prohibit political
interference in court.
Kurdish politicians who are involved in saving
perpetrators must be stopped and prosecuted.
All the Kurdish Jash who participated in the Anfal
genocide must be put on trial.
Other Anfal perpetrators, such as Nazar Khazraji,
Wafiq Samaraiy, and other known or high-level Iraqi
officers must be prosecuted.
Special teams to uncover and dig up the mass graves
of victims must be established.
A monument for Anfal victims in the Germian region,
where the highest number of people were victims of
genocide, should be erected, along with a
Compensation for all of the victims’ families should
be paid immediately.
Victims’ families must receive psychological,
social, and economic help.
All of the areas that endured the genocide and are
now outside the Kurdish region must be part of the
Kurdistan administration again, and the area must
have sufficient defence and protection.
Iraq must give an apology to Kurdish people now; any
further delay is a denial of Iraq’s guilt in the
The political interference and the faulty Iraqi
court cannot be accepted any more; thus, the KRG
must demand an international tribunal for the crimes
committed by the Iraqi regime against the Kurds.
The KRG must establish local courts for the
prosecution of perpetrators living in the Kurdish
region. To secure an impartial court and trials, the
UN must monitor a court that is either lead by
neutral, professional, foreign legal jurists, or it
must have mixed personnel of Kurdish and
Kurdish civil organizations of genocide must have
observer status in relation to the trials of the
perpetrators, compensation of victims’ families, and
other matters related to genocide.
14 April 2008