Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," has told a court trying him for genocide that he ordered thousands of Kurds out of their homes in the 1980s.

Al-Majid told the session in Baghdad Thursday that he was responsible for the displacement and took the action without going back to the high military command or Baath party commander.

But he denied claims he was responsible for killing 300 Kurdish rebels.

Al-Majid is on trial with five others for involvement in the killing of some 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq as part of the former Iraqi government's Operation Anfal campaign.

Former Iraqi officials had called the campaign a legitimate military operation against Kurdish rebels who had sided with Iran during the Iraq-Iran war.

Saddam Hussein, who was a co-defendant in the trial, was executed in December for a separate conviction. Al-Majid sat Thursday in the front row in Saddam's seat, which was left empty Monday, the first session after the execution.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.