BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 15:16 GMT
Saddam calls for reconciliation
Saddam Hussein, 7 November 2006
It is almost three years since Saddam Hussein was captured
Saddam Hussein has urged Iraqis to seek reconciliation, two days after being sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity.

"I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands," the former president told the court in a separate trial for genocide.

He is being tried with six others for his role in a military campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980s.

More than 180,000 people are alleged to have died in the Anfal campaign.

Saddam Hussein was subdued in court on Tuesday, in contrast to his defiance on Sunday as his death sentence was read out.

Saddam Hussein: Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity
Ali Hassan al-Majid, ex-Baath leader in northern Iraq: Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity
Sultan Hashim Ahmed, ex-defence minister: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Saber Abdul Aziz, ex-intelligence chief: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, ex-Republican Guard head: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Taher Muhammad al-Ani, ex-governor of Nineveh province: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Farhan al-Jibouri, ex-military commander: War crimes and crimes against humanity

It is not clear if the Iraqi authorities will wait until the second trial is complete before they carry out the sentence in the first case.

An automatic appeal against the guilty verdict will be launched, to be decided by a panel of nine judges. A ruling is expected late this year or early next year, and if the death sentence is upheld, the execution must be carried out within 30 days.

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

The Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has made it clear it wants the execution to take place as soon as possible but some Kurdish politicians have said they want the Anfal case to be finished first.

Kurdish witness

The Anfal trial resumed as the curfew imposed for the verdict in the first trial was lifted.

Saddam Hussein and the six co-defendants - all different from his previous co-defendants - face charges over their role in the Anfal campaign against ethnic Kurds, many of whom were gassed to death.

Speaking to the court in the afternoon session, Saddam Hussein cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who had opposed them.

I find this whole Saddam trial very disturbing
Alicia, London

In a markedly different atmosphere to Sunday, his call for mutual reconciliation came after he had respectfully challenged one witness' testimony.

Tuesday's first witness told the court that he and other men from his village had surrendered to Iraqi soldiers after being promised an amnesty.

Qahar Khalil Mohammed, a Kurd, then told the court how they were lined up and shot by the soldiers. He said he survived despite several wounds, but 33 other people from his village died.

Saddam Hussein rebutted the testimony, saying there was nobody who could verify Mr Mohammed's account.

The trial has been adjourned and will be resumed Wednesday.

More trials are possible over Saddam Hussein's response to a 1991 Shia uprising and the repression of the people of Iraq's southern marshlands.

Scenes of the devastation in Iraq under Saddam Hussein

Timeline: Saddam Hussein Anfal trial
31 Oct 06 |  Middle East

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific