A former Kurdish guerrilla fighter accused Saddam Hussein of poisoning him with chemical weapons strikes when he appeared as a witness on Monday’s session.

 

Karwan Abdullah Tawfiq took off dark glasses in court to show the swollen lids and whitened irises of his eyes, which he said were permanently damaged by nerve poison that completely blinded him for six months.

 

"Even my children are scared to see my eyes when I remove my glasses," said the former radio operator for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's peshmerga guerrillas, who fled to the Netherlands and now has Dutch citizenship.

 

"Let the court look at my eyes," he said, lifting his glasses. "I want the camera to zoom in on my eyes."

 

Al-Amiri's remark had angered
the Kurds 

Saddam and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed, also known as "Chemical Ali", face charges of genocide.

 

Five other defendants, including a former defence minister, face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

More than 20 witnesses have so far taken the stand, mostly Kurdish villagers, describing the destruction caused by the Anfal campaign of 1988.

 

Criticism 

Masoud Barazani, president of Kurdistan region in northern Iraq has accused Saddam, his lawyers, and the court of turning the case into a political one.

 

"Al-Anfal case is criminal not political; but what is going inside the court’s room is an attempt by Saddam, his henchmen, and lawyers to give the case a political style. The court should take that into consideration," he said. 

 

Abd Allah al-Amiri, the chief judge in al-Anfal case had angered Kurds and Saddam opponents in the previous session, when he said that Saddam was not a dictator.

 

Several Kurdish political and civil groups issued statements calling for the removal of al-Amiri.

 

Response

 

Bushra al-Khalil, a member of Saddam’s defence team told Aljazeera.net that the case was political since the accusations in the bill of indictment were all of political characteristic.

 

"Genocide cannot in anyway be seen as a criminal act, actually, this court has been violating international law which stipulates that local courts are not entitled to inspect war crimes cases. The UN and its secretary-general are the only parties entitled to establish such courts."

 

Al-Khalil said the military acts committed in the Kurdish areas were all because of war and politics.

 

"According to the documents we have been provided by court, there were many villages which had been evacuated by Iraqi army because they were adjacent to Iran which had been engaging in a fierce war with Iraq.

 

"Iraqi army moved the inhabitants of those villages to areas far from the borders, later on, those villages were battle fields, so even if they want to sue someone they have to refer to the war with Iran, and here we are back to square one, it is political," al-Khalil said.