Saddam allegedly confessed to crimes
Iraq's president said yesterday that Saddam Hussein had confessed to killings and other crimes committed during his regime, including the...
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's president said yesterday that Saddam Hussein had confessed to killings and other crimes committed during his regime, including the massacre of thousands of Kurds in the late 1980s.
President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi television that he had been informed by an investigating judge that "he was able to extract confessions from Saddam's mouth" about crimes "such as executions" that the ousted leader had personally ordered.
Asked about specific examples, Talabani, a Kurd, replied "Anfal," the code name for the 1987-88 campaign that his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan maintains led to the deaths of about 182,000 Kurds and the destruction of "dozens of Kurdish villages."
Those villages included Halabja, where thousands of Kurdish villagers were gassed in 1988.
However, Abdel Haq Alani, a legal consultant to Saddam's family said Saddam did not mention any confession when he met Monday with his Iraqi lawyer.
Saddam faces his first trial Oct. 19 for his alleged role in another atrocity — the 1982 massacre of Shiites in Dujail, a town north of Baghdad, after an assassination attempt there against him.
The Iraqi Special Tribunal has decided to conduct trials on separate alleged offenses rather than lump them all together in a single proceeding.
Saddam could face the death penalty if convicted in the Dujail case, the only one referred to trial so far.
It was uncertain whether Saddam believed he was admitting to a crime or simply acknowledging having issued orders that he believed were legal — something only a trial could determine.
Operation Anfal took place during Iraq's war with Iran, which the Iraqi government believed maintained ties to the Iraqi Kurds.
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