International Courts/Tribunals

‘Chemical Ali’ Gets Death Sentence


An Iraqi tribunal has imposed a death sentence on the man known as Chemical Ali for ordering poison gas attacks on Kurdish villagers.

Ali Hassan al-Majid was sentenced yesterday after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the New York Times reports. Two high-ranking officers in the Iraqi army also received death sentences.

The sentence comes just days after Human Rights Watch issued a report saying the trial of Saddam Hussein and two of his senior officials had serious legal and factual errors. Hussein was executed in December.

Richard Dicker, director of the group’s International Justice Program, told Associated Press that prosecutors failed to establish intent, instead relying on the officials’ positions to show they had knowledge of crimes.

The group released an earlier report focusing on procedural issues in the trial just days before the Iraqi High Tribunal released a 300-page ruling explaining its reasoning on key motions.

Human Rights Watch had been a longtime critic of Hussein and documented many of his abuses. But it was critical of the tribunal even before the verdict for pursuing the death penalty and for using a standard that fell below proof beyond a reasonable doubt, John Gibeaut reports in his cover story for the May 2007 ABA Journal, “Rough Justice.”

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