Erbil, May 3 (AKnews) - The mass killing of Kurds from the Barzani tribe by Saddam Hussein's government in the 1980s was genocide, Iraq's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
Six former Ba'ath party officials have been sentenced for their involvement, with one receiving the death penalty.
The ruling comes at the conclusion of an investigation that involved 39 sessions and lasted for nearly two years.
In 1983, 8000 men from the Barzani tribe were killed when Mustafa Barzani (pictured), leader of the tribe and father of current Kurdistani president Massoud Barzani, led the Kurdish rebellion against the state.
Six of the former Ba'ath regime's officials have been found guilty. Tariq Aziz, former Iraqi deputy Prime Minister, who is already in prison awaiting execution for the persecution of political opponents, received life in prison for his involvement, said Ayad Kakayi, a prosecutor in the case.
Sadoun Shaker, a former Ba'ath official, was condemned to death, in addition to receiving three prison terms of 15, 7 and 10 years for crimes against humanity, torture and imprisonment.
Two other former officials were sentenced to life in prison. They are Hikmat Wathban and Safyan Mahar. Hamid Yousef, received 10 years in prison. The sixth defendant, Saddam Hussein's half brother Wathban Ibrahim, was acquitted of the charges.
Kurds had been pushing to have the murders recognized as genocide since the fall of the Ba'ath regime in 2003.
Human Rights Watch, in its book Iraq's Crime of Genocide, said: "Throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, although women and children vanished in certain clearly defined areas, adult males who were captured disappeared en masse. It is apparent that a principal purpose of Anfal was to exterminate all adult males of military service age captured in rural Iraqi Kurdistan"
The Supreme Court, which was set up after the 2003 US led war against Iraq to try former members of Saddam Hussein's government, has already recognized other mass killings of Kurds by the former regime as genocide. This includes the chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988 which killed 5,000 and left some 10,000 inured, as part of a military campaign known as Anfal.
The genocidal campaigns conducted in Kurdistan by Saddam's regime is estimated to have killed some 100,000 civilians.
By Raber Y. Aziz, contributions from Fryad Mohammed.
Edited by Patrick Smith