Middle East and North Africa

The Basra Massacre of 99'

In 2003, Human Rights Watch researchers traveled to southern Iraq to investigate the March 1999 campaign of Saddam Hussein's government to suppress the popular uprising sparked by the government's assassination of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr. The resulting report, Ali Hasan Al-Majid and the Basra Massacre of 1999, provides evidence that one Iraqi official responsible for the gross human rights violations in that campaign is Ali Hasan al-Majid, a cousin and close associate of Saddam Hussein also known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons against Iraq's Kurds. Al-Majid has been in U.S. and Iraqi custody since August 2003, and is likely to be one of the first defendants to be tried before the Iraqi Special Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.