The judge then switched off microphones in the court amid heated discussions with the two defendants.

 

Anfal campaign

 

Al-Majid and five other top officials of the former regime are being tried for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over the deaths of 182,000 Kurds during the 1988 Anfal campaign.

 

The accused say the campaign was a vital counter-insurgency operation against Kurdish guerrillas who sided with the enemy during Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran.

 

"I gave orders to the troops to catch anyone they find there and execute them after investigating them"

Ali Hassan al-Majid

Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq and a defendant in the genocide trial, was hanged on December 30 for crimes against humanity following a separate trial for the killing of 148 Shia villagers in the 1980s.

 

After his execution, the Iraqi High Tribunal dropped all outstanding charges against Saddam who, like al-Majid, was also accused of genocide in the Anfal trial.

 

During the last session on January 11, al-Majid admitted ordering troops to execute Kurdish villagers who refused to leave their homes during the military campaign against the northern Kurdish region.

 

"Yes, I gave my instructions to consider these villages as prohibited areas and I gave orders to the troops to catch anyone they find there and execute them after investigating them," al-Majid told the court.

 

"I'm responsible for the displacement and I took this decision alone, without going back to the high military command or Ba'ath party commander.

 

"I say that before your court and before God," he added.