Saddam trial to focus on most-notorious atrocities

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The Independent Online

Saddam Hussein will stand trial for a range of charges - from gassing thousands of Kurds to executing political and religious leaders - according to a list of the cases against the former dictator obtained yesterday from the special tribunal set up to try him.

Saddam Hussein will stand trial for a range of charges - from gassing thousands of Kurds to executing political and religious leaders - according to a list of the cases against the former dictator obtained yesterday from the special tribunal set up to try him.

Iraqi officials want the case against Saddam, who could face 500 charges if prosecutors were to proceed on all counts, to concentrate on 14 thoroughly documented charges on which the authorities believe the ousted leader will be convicted. Saddam will stand trial alongside 11 of his former henchmen.

Iraqi authorities believe the trial against Saddam, which could begin within two months, will have a major effect on curbing the violent insurgency, which has killed hundreds of people since the new Shia-ledgovernment was announced on 28 April. Meanwhile, mortar barrages on Sunday and yesterday apparently targeting police stations in the northern city of Mosul killed six Iraqis, including two children. Gunmen also killed an Egyptian with US citizenship, Ahmed Kamal, in western Baghdad. He had been a contractor with Iraq's electricity ministry. Kazem Shelash, a senior member of the disbanded Baath party, was killed by two gunmen in Basra. A US soldier was also killed on Sunday by a roadside bomb near Kirkuk. Iraqi police shot at a suicide bomber before his vehicle exploded in Baghdad yesterday, wounding three police and three bystanders.

The charges

* Executing at least 50 Iraqis in 1982 in the Shia town of Dujail in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt against him

* Killing and deporting 8,000 members of the Kurdish Barzani tribe, of which the Kurdistan Democratic Party leader, Massoud Barzani, is a member

* Murdering an estimated 5,000 people in the 1988 chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja

* Executing religious and political figures

* Ordering the seven-month occupation of Kuwait that was ended by the 1991 US-led Gulf War

* Suppressing a 1991 Shia uprising in the south

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