In August 1983, Saddam Hussein’s regime started deploying chemical weapons against Iranian forces. In 1987, Saddam launched a series of attacks against the Kurdish population of Iraq, which killed as many as 180,000 civilians. This genocidal campaign is known as the Anfal campaign.  While most of the murders were committed with conventional weapons and mass executions, it is estimated that over 400 Kurdish villages were hit by chemical weapon attacks, killing thousands of people.

The Iraqi chemical weapons’ factories were the largest during the Cold War.  They reached production levels of 6 tons of mustard gas and 8 tons of sarin and tabun per month. This “Iraqi success” would not have been possible without the cooperation of at least 427 Western companies that had some role in building the chemical weapons plants and supplying the raw materials for the poison gas. Over 20 West German, French, Dutch, Swiss and Spanish companies played central roles.  Their involvement was so pervasive and central, that it is undeniable that these companies and their managers, knowingly, intentionally and purposefully provided the Saddam regime with the most lethal chemical weapons ever developed.

Headed by Sami Jalal, GJG’s staff in Erbil has been collecting testimony from survivors of the attacks and documenting their injuries and the deaths of their family members in an effort to gather sufficient preliminary evidence for the initiation of a lawsuit on behalf of the victims against the international suppliers of the chemicals used in the attack for their complicity in the genocide.  So far, our team has reached out to over 4000 families of people killed by chemical weapons and almost 1000 survivors of the chemical weapons attacks. Most of them were harmed in the attacks on Halabja (on 16 March 1988) and are still suffering the continuing effects of the poison gases.

We shall continue to reach out victims and to collect evidences from many of the other villages that were attacked with chemical weapons.