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Iraq: The Kurds

In 1988 Saddam Hussein started a military campaign against the Kurds in Northern Iraq. An estimated 100,000 Kurdish people were murdered and 4,000 villages were demolished. The military used chemical weapons and aerial attacks as well as other forms of destruction. They did a mass deportation to concentration camps as a way to cleanse the region. At the camps men and boys were executed while children, women, and elderly died from disease and starvation.


Saddam Hussein gave specific orders to the military to get rid of the Kurdish. In his instructions he said, "It is the duty of military forces, everyone one according to his section, to kill any human being or animal that exists in these areas which are considered totally forbidden", even though it was the Kurdish own homes. With the use of the chemical weapons, Hussein killed 5,000 people in a village in one day. Around 50,000 people escaped and fled to Turkey. In Turkey the Kurds suffered from the same harassment and torture by the Turkish.

YouTube - Journeyman Pictures

A few people who survived the Kurdish genocide share their stories. One woman lost 8 of her family members, her house was bulldozed, and all her livestock was killed. She hasn't been able to rebuild her farm without her family and she blames everything on Saddam Hussein for destroying her life. A man remembers on April 9th, 1988 people woke up to the military on the hills and by 11am there were tanks around the villages so everyone so started fleeing. The military started burning the villages. Another woman recalls being tortured a lot and being beaten until they collapsed. They also had to stand outside facing the sun all day until sunset without water. She said all the children were taken one night and a few hours later the soldiers brought them back; it was hard for and her husband not knowing what the soldiers could be capable of.

YouTube - Journeyman Pictures

In December 2003 the United States captured Saddam Hussein and he was transferred to the Iraqi government by the following summer. His first hearing was in July 2004 and he had seven charges against him, but a year later he had 12 charges of crimes against humanity even though there were at least 500 cases against him. He first went to trial in October 2005 and he pleaded not guilty to all charges. A few weeks later two of his attorneys were killed and a third one was injured which delayed the trial for about a week. In June 2006 the prosecutor requested the death penalty for Hussein. In November 2006 he was sentenced to death by hanging and on December 30, 2006 he was executed.

Trial International

Although it's been many years since the Anfal genocide and Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death for it along with other charges for crimes against humanity, it is not internationally recognized as genocide. The Iraq government and British, Swedish, Norwegian, and South Korean parliaments are the only ones that recognize it as genocide. To constitute the campaign as genocide releases them from liability for giving support to Saddam Hussein.

Al Jazeera

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