Van Anraat sentenced to 17 years 09 May 2007
The Appeals Court of The Hague has found Frans van Anraat guilty of complicity to violations of the laws and customs of war.

Frans van AnraatOn 9 May 2007, the Appeals Court of The Hague found Frans van Anraat, a Dutch businessman, guilty of having participated in complicity to violations of the laws and customs of war. According to the Appeals Court he has repeatedly committed this crime. The Appeals Court found proven: “Medeplegen van medeplichtigheid aan medeplegen van schending van de wetten en gebruiken van de oorlog (…), meermalen gepleegd”. Van Anraat was not found guilty on a count of complicity in genocide. The Court of Appeal convicted him to a sentence of 17 years' imprisonment.

On 23 December 2005, the District Court of The Hague found Van Anraat guilty of complicity in violations of the laws and customs of war, but acquitted him of complicity to genocide. He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. During the 1980s, Van Anraat was Saddam Hussein's most important supplier of chemicals used for the production of mustard gas. According to the District Court, Van Anraat's involvement in supplying chemicals to Iraq was an essential contribution to the chemical weapons programme of Saddam's regime. With the chemicals supplied by Van Anraat, the regime was capable of carrying out a large number of attacks with mustard gas on the civilian population, both in Iran and Iraq. The District Court found that the chemical attacks in Kurdistan during the1980s, notably on the city of Halabja in March 1988, were committed with the intent of the destruction of the Kurdish people in Iraq and that this action therefore amounted to genocide by the regime.

The Appeals Court did not explicitly state again that the Saddam Hussein regime committed genocide, but found that there were strong indications that the leaders of the Iraqi regime had a genocidal intent. In respect to a possible conviction of Van Anraat for complicity to genocide, the Court of Appeal stated that international criminal law in respect to that crime is still developing, and needs further crystallisation. Additionally, the Court of Appeals found that 15 (civil) claims for damages by victims of the Iraqi air raids could not be adjudicated during this (criminal law) case as they were too complicated, especially where Iraqi or Iranian law would be applicable.

The defense will seek appeal of the judgement at the Dutch Supreme Court.

Press release (Dutch)

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