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Iraq court convicts top Saddam officials of forced displacement of Kurds

[JURIST] An Iraqi court on Sunday convicted Ali Hassan al-Majid [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and former foreign minister and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of forcing the Kurdish population to be displaced from the northeast of Iraq during the late 1980s. The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal [governing statute, PDF] sentenced al-Majid, better known in the western media as "Chemical Ali," and Aziz, along with former officials Sadoon Shakir and Mizban Khudr Hadi, to seven years in prison [Alsumaria report] for their involvement in Saddam Hussein's campaign against the Kurds in which many villages were destroyed. Aziz was defended on the grounds that he spent much of his time on foreign diplomatic missions and was therefore not involved in the forced displacements.

The sentence will extend Aziz's prison term to a total of 22 years following a March conviction [JURIST report] for his involvement in the 1992 murders of 42 merchants accused of price-gouging during UN-imposed sanctions. Prior to his March conviction, Aziz was acquitted of charges [JURIST report] in connection with the killing of protesters who rioted in Baghdad and Amarah following the alleged assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr. Hussein's cousin al-Majid received a third death sentence for his involvement in the alleged assassination.

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