New lawsuit filed in Halabja against companies supplied Saddam with chemical weapons

In Halabja on Tuesday, an American human rights law firm announced a new lawsuit that identifies and accuses several European companies of knowingly supplying and developing Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program.
author_image John J. Catherine

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – In Halabja on Tuesday, an American human rights law firm announced a new lawsuit that identifies and accuses several European companies of knowingly supplying and developing Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program.

"Today, we filed a historic lawsuit against those criminal conspirators with the Saddam regime who provided him with all the weapons he needed to kill tens of thousands of people," said Gavriel Mairone, founder of the firm making the legal complaint, filed in Halabja's Civil District Court on behalf of survivors of the chemical attack that occurred in the city on March 16, 1988.

The suit alleges that several European companies, "played a central role in a conspiracy to profit from enabling and assisting Saddam Hussein to carry out attacks that were later described as genocide and represented the highest concentration of lethal chemical substances ever used against a civilian population."

Aside from merely shipping the chemical precursors with which to make such weapons, evidence detailed in the complaint is claimed to prove that the companies took part in the planning, construction, and training of underground chemical weapons laboratories, with full knowledge of the extent of the atrocities that were being committed as a result.

Mairone explained that the principal target of the suit is a German company, now in the tourism industry, that does "tens of billions of Euros a year" in business, but that several other European countries are named as well.

Billions of dollars are being sought as compensation for the victims, and as a punitive measure to increase accountability of companies that act in secret to profit by supporting illegal chemical weapons programs, or find legal loopholes that allow them to skirt regulations against doing so.

“These companies had an interest in the Saddam regime using the weapons," said the lawyer, before a solemn crowd, which included survivors of the attack. "Why? Because the more chemical weapons Saddam used, the more chemicals were needed to build more weapons."

A chart included in the lawsuit implicating German company TUI in several chamical attacks in Iraq between 1983 and 1988. (Photo: MM~LAW)
A chart included in the lawsuit implicating German company TUI in several chamical attacks in Iraq between 1983 and 1988. (Photo: MM~LAW)

Though Halabja, approaching its thirtieth anniversary of the attack that occurred there, is the focus of the press conference, evidence in the complaint shows how the illegal activity led to multiple chemical attacks across Iraq between 1983 and 1988.

Among the formal charges made against the companies are 'conspiracy to commit' genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

According to the law firm, the complaint draws on recently uncovered evidence and testimony from experts hired by the German Export Authority.

Mairone said that, without the support from the European companies, "our thinking is that the Anfal could not have happened.”