Prosecutors in The Hague today open their case against a Dutch businessman who faces charges of complicity in genocide for supplying chemicals to deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
These were allegedly used in gas attacks against the Kurdish minority in the 1980s.
Frans van Anraat, 63, shipped 1,100 tonnes of raw materials to Saddam’s regime.
Prosecutors say they were converted into deadly mustard and nerve gas and used against five villages, including Halabja where 5,000 people were massacred in 1988.
More than a dozen victims testified earlier this week about losing family members and the chronic health problems they still suffered.
It is the first trial anywhere of an alleged perpetrator of the attacks on Kurdish villages in Iraq and Iran, although the Iraqi High Tribunal judging Saddam is expected to indict him on related charges.
In order to convict Van Anraat, the Hague district court must first find that genocide occurred under Saddam’s regime, a ruling which could affect later proceedings in Baghdad.