Van Anraat Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

A Dutch court today sentenced businessman Frans van Anraat to 15 years in prison for supplying ingredients for chemical weapons that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein used to kill thousands of Kurds in Iraq and Iran (see GSN, Dec. 9).

While the court in The Hague convicted the 63-year-old van Anraat on war crimes counts, it found him not guilty of genocide charges, Reuters reported.

“His deliveries facilitated the attacks and constitute a very serious war crime. He cannot counter with the argument that this would have happened even without his contribution,” the presiding judge said.

The prison term was the maximum allowed by law, and the sentence sought by prosecutors.

“Even the maximum sentence is not enough to cover the seriousness of the acts,” the judge said.

Prosecutors charged that van Anraat shipped 1,000 tons of thiodiglycol — a dual-use chemical that can be used to produce mustard agent — to Iraq. Hussein used more than 800 tons of the chemical in weapons, they charged.

Van Anraat had argued that he did not know his materials were being used in munitions, according to Reuters. Prosecutors disputed that claim  (Reuters, Dec. 23).

December 23, 2005
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A Dutch court today sentenced businessman Frans van Anraat to 15 years in prison for supplying ingredients for chemical weapons that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein used to kill thousands of Kurds in Iraq and Iran (see GSN, Dec. 9).