Day two of the Anfal genocide trial against Saddam Hussein and others in Baghdad:
Seven leading members of the former regime, including Saddam’s cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, are accused of war crimes against the Kurds in 1987-88, in which it is estimated that 50,000-100,000 people died, many of them gassed. The first witness for the prosecution appeared – unusually for these trials – named and unhidden by a screen. Ali Mustafa Hama told the court how planes had bombed his village: “the gas smelled of rotten apples… releasing greenish smoke”. Then his neighbours began dying in agony.
Papers in Baghdad reported how, on day one of Saddam’s second trial, he and al-Majid had refused to enter a plea. Many people questioned in the streets by reporters said they hoped the trials would end soon, as Saddam’s guilt was beyond doubt, and the sooner he was executed the sooner terrorism would end.
The defence lawyers argue that the Kurdish insurrection was backed by Iran, then at war with Iraq, and that a military campaign was essential for Baghdad. However, as Kurds who marked the trial with demonstrations in Kirkuk, Kalal and elsewhere
insisted, most of the dead were civilians.