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Prosecutor Confident of Genocide Case Against Saddam

One of the prosecutors in the genocide case against Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants is confident of being able to prove Saddam ordered the so-called Anfal military campaign against Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s.

On the first day of Saddam Hussein's trial for genocide against the Kurds, prosecutor Jiyan Aziz entered the courtroom with a sense of determination.

"When I first entered the court, I felt that the time of judgment had arrived," she said. "To see Saddam and his gang there, so powerless now, and how they had hurt so many people in the past, it gave me comfort."

Jiyan Aziz is one of the Kurdish prosecutors in the case against Saddam and six of his former military commanders for crimes against humanity during the Anfal campaign in the 1980s.

She is confident the prosecution team will be able to prove the accused ordered the killing of more than 180,000 Kurds, many of them women and children, the eradication of thousands of Kurdish villages and the use of chemical weapons on civilian populations.

To make their case, she says, they will enter as evidence remains from mass graves, testimony of survivors, and official Iraqi government documents ordering the killings.

The defense says the operation was aimed at wiping out Kurdish separatist guerillas, known as Peshmerga, who sided with Iran in its war with Iraq.

Aziz does not believe that argument will hold up.

"The defense will try to prove they targeted the Kurds because the Kurds were cooperating with Iran," she added. "But what about the babies and the women? Of course, what they say is not true. The Peshmerga, the fighters were not among the survivors. They were far from the villages attacked. The villagers did not see Iranians. It is not true. It is just not true. And their argument will not be accepted as true."

Aziz is confident justice will prevail and the world will know the truth about how the Kurds suffered under Saddam. The trial, which is being conducted in Baghdad, has been adjourned until September 11.