Dutchman on trial over Saddam's gas genocide

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The Independent Online

A Dutch businessman who is thought to have worked for the Netherlands' intelligence services has gone on trial, accused of supplying the chemicals used by Saddam Hussein to gas Kurds in the 1980s.

A Dutch businessman who is thought to have worked for the Netherlands' intelligence services has gone on trial, accused of supplying the chemicals used by Saddam Hussein to gas Kurds in the 1980s.

Frans van Anraat, 62, is accused of complicity in genocide in the first war-crimes case of its kind to be pursued by a national court. The prosecutor claims that between 1984 and 1988 Mr Van Anraat exported tons of chemicals that were turned into mustard gas and nerve gas.

Mr Van Anraat did not speak at yesterday's pre-trial hearing in Rotterdam. He was ordered to remain in custody until his case is heard in November.

First arrested in Italy in 1989, he was released after two months on remand pending extradition but fled to Iraq. After Saddam fell he moved on to Syria and then to the Netherlands, where he was re-arrested.

The proceedings may reveal the role of Western intelligence services in arming Saddam. Mr Van Anraat was thought to have worked as an informant for the Dutch secret service, the AIVD, in Iraq. Reports have said he was given a safe house by the AIVD when he went back to the Netherlands and that the Interior Ministry tried to prevent his prosecution.

Yesterday the prosecutor, Fred Teeven, said investigators had strong evidence that Mr Van Anraat "calmly went ahead" with delivering the chemicals even after the gas attack on Halabja that killed more than 5,000.

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