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Expert at Saddam Trial Says Scores of Women, Children in Mass Graves


A forensic expert testifying at the genocide trial of Saddam Hussein says the remains of scores of Kurdish women and children were among those found in mass graves in Iraq.

American expert Michael Trimble of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the court Thursday that the victims, including a pregnant woman and a mother holding her child, were gunned down on the edge of the grave.

He testified about his investigations of two graves in the northern province of Nineva and one in the southern province of Muthanna. He said the sites contained the remains of 301 people - 183 of them children.

Saddam and six co-defendants are on trial for their alleged roles in the military campaign against ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s in which prosecutors say up to 180,000 people were killed.

Trimble said forensic examinations indicate the victims were killed between 1988 and 1990. He said large, earth-moving equipment was used to dig the graves as part of what he called a "highly organized program of execution."

But Saddam disputed the neutrality of the American, and the ousted leader's co-defendant Hussein Rashid said the military campaign was to kick the Iranians out of Iraq - and they had nothing to do with the killings of the Kurds.

Saddam has already been sentenced to death for the 1982 killing of 148 Shi'ite men in the village of Dujail.