AMSTERDAM (The Guardian) Nov. 22 — The first EU citizen to face charges of complicity in genocide and international war crimes went on trial in the Netherlands accused of aiding Saddam Hussein to gas the Kurds of Halabja almost 20 years ago.
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Iraqi Kurds, holding photos of victims of poison gas
attacks by Iraqi government in 1988 in the town of Halabja,
demonstrate in front of Rotterdam court during a hearing
of Dutch businessman Van Anraat, 18 March 2005.
Ed Oudenaarden/AFP/Getty Images
Frans van Anraat, a 63-year-old Dutch businessman who fled to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and lived there from 1989 to 2003, faces charges of supplying the Saddam regime with the ingredients for the chemical weapons used in the gassing in Halabja in the 1980s.
Supplied Chemical Agents to Saddam »»
THE HAGUE (Reuters) Nov. 23 — A Dutch businessman sold chemicals to Iraq knowing Saddam Hussein would use them to carry out poison gas attacks that killed thousands of people, prosecutors told the start of his trial.
Frans van Anraat, 63, is charged with complicity in war crimes and genocide for supplying agents for poison gas used by Iraq in the 1980-1988 war with Iran and against its own Kurdish population, including a 1988 attack on the town of Halabja.
“He is being accused of delivering raw materials necessary to build Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. The use of those weapons by the regime in Baghdad led to death of thousands in Iraq and Iran,” Prosecutor Fred Teeven told the court.
“He is complicit in serious international crimes.”
UN weapons inspectors have said van Anraat was an important middleman supplying Iraq with chemical agents.
The first Dutchman to be tried on genocide-related charges, van Anraat faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial, for which statements were taken from about 100 witnesses, is expected to last about three weeks. A verdict is due on December 23.
Van Anraat was arrested by Dutch officials¹ last December as he was preparing to leave The Netherlands.
¹ In a safehouse of AIVD! – the Dutch secret service.
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“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”