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1988 Kurdish massacre labeled genocide

March 8, 2010 at 10:36 AM   |   Comments

ERBIL, Iraq, March 8 (UPI) -- An Iraqi supreme court reversed an earlier decision by recognizing chemical weapons attacks on the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988 as an act of genocide.

The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal in January said the Halabja weapons attack was a crime against humanity, sparking uproar from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq and advocacy groups.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, a former defense minister nicknamed Chemical Ali, was executed in January for orchestrating the 1988 massacre of Kurds, in which an estimated 5,000 people were killed by Sarin and VX gas in the Kurdish city of Halabja. It was his third death sentence since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Baath government of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Majid Hamad Amin Jamil, the minister of martyrs for the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, said Kurdish officials felt justice was served, though they protested the sentence of crimes against humanity for Majid.

Kawa Mahmoud, a representative for the KRG, welcomed the court decision as a sign the Kurdish people are getting the reconciliation they deserve.

"This decision will have a great impact on restoring the rights of the Kurdish people and shows that justice and recognition can be achieved step by step," the representative said.

The former Baath Party regime of Saddam Hussein was linked to genocide for the Anfal campaign that left hundreds of thousands of Kurds dead in 1988.

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