1988 HALABJA GENOCIDE & 1995 SREBRENICA GENOCIDE
- Iraqi "Chemical Ali" participated in the killings of 5,000 Kurds in 1988.
- Serbian "Chemical Zdravko" participated in the killings of 8,000 Bosniaks in 1995.
Two Genocides in which poison gases had been used:
Halabja in 1988 and Srebrenica in 1995
1. Halabja Genocide
PHOTO: A man places flowers on a grave of a victim killed in the 1988 chemical attack in Halabja. Five thousand people died in the poison gas attack in Halabja on 16 March 1988. Photo courtesy of Halabja.org.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali", was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for his part in the Anfal campaign and was transferred to the Iraq Special Tribunal for trial in 2006. He has been sentenced to death and hanged for ordering the gassing of Kurds in the Iraqi village of Halabja on 16 March 1988. In Halabja Genocide, over 5,000 Kurds died. He has received four death sentences for his role in killing Shia Muslims in 1991 and 1999, the genocide of the Kurds in the 1980s, and ordering the gassing of Kurds at Halabja. He was hanged on 25 January 2010.
2. Srebrenica Genocide
PHOTO: Exhumation of the Srebrenica Genocide victims from a Branjevo Mass Grave. Photo courtesy of Genocid.org.
Zdravko Tolimir, also known as "Chemical Zdravko" and "Chemical Tolimir," was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for his part in the Srebrenica Genocide campaign. He was transfered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in June 2007. He is set to go on trial on genocide charges next month (see: Court Order).
In 2006 opening statements, the U.N. Prosecutor McCloskey stated that “criminal orders in war are as a rule issued verbally”, and that a few exceptions existed to the rule. One of the most striking ones is a report sent on 21 July 1995 by General Zdravko Tolimir from Zepa to General Radomir Miletic, acting Chief of General Staff of the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army]. Tolimir is asking for help to crush some BH Army strongholds, expressing his view that "the best way to do it would be to use chemical weapons". In the same report, Chemical Tolimir goes even further,proposing strikes against refugee columns leaving Zepa, because that would "force the Muslim fighters to surrender quickly", in his opinion.
In 1995, a team of the U.S. Defense Department experts interviewed a number of Srebrenica survivors in the summer of 1996, and concluded that their accounts supported allegations of the use of chemical incapacitants. The conclusion was deemed highly significant by the department. This information was sent up the chain of command. In late 1996, the U.S. intelligence community had information that chemical weapons may have been used in Srebrenica. A large investigation, which included physical sampling, was undertaken in late 1996 or early 1997 by the U.S. Government. The results of this investigation are not known to us.
May the victims of Halabja and Srebrenica finally rest in peace. We won't forget you.