A member of Saddam's defence team told Aljazeera.net that initial proceedings had been scheduled for Sunday.

 

At the hearing, the investigating judge is expected to hear evidence from the prosecution and the defence before it can be decided whether or not there is enough evidence for a trial.

 

Najib al-Nuaimi, a former Qatari justice minister and member of Saddam's defence team, said he expected the judge to be Raed al-Juhi.

 

He also said he expected the investigation to be held inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Sunday.

 

The hearing is going ahead despite the fact that Saddam is still currently being tried for crimes against humanity in the al-Dujail case. Al-Juhi was also the investigating judge for this case.

 

"The investigation will be in the same building where the current trial session has been held, and judge Raed al-Juhi is expected to launch the investigation," al-Nuaimi said.

 

Background

 

Al-Anfal was a military operation launched by the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The operation consisted of two phases known as al-Anfal 1 launched in 1986, and al-Anfal 2 launched in February 1988 and continued for some time after the ceasefire in August 1988.

 

Al-Anfal was an intensive hunt against Iran-backed Iraqi Kurdish militias who fought with Iran against Iraq.

 

Jalal Talabani, an Iraqi Kurd and the current president of Iraq, and Masoud Barzani, the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan, both had militias that fought a bloody guerrilla war against the Iraqi army starting in the 1960s.

 

Al-Nuaimi said he did not know if his client would stand trial for genocide against the Kurds before or after the current case of al-Dujail is closed.

 

"We still do not know whether the general prosecutor will wait until the al-Dujail case is closed. We also do not know why the case has been kicked off before the al-Dujail is closed," he said.

 

Politics

 

He said the trial was being used by curent Iraqi politicans and officials to win support. 

 

"The trial of the president has been used by many Iraqi parties as a bargaining card," he said.

 

"This happened in the elections of the current parliament and is happening in the formation of the cabinet.

 

"Any politician who has ambitions to a post that has something to do with the trial gives promises that he would end the trial swiftly with a death sentence if given the position," he said.  

 

Saddam's defence team will join today's investigation session. It was not immediately clear whether the hearing would be televised, although the al-Dujail hearing was.