The Iraqi High Tribunal announced on Tuesday that Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants will be put on trial Aug. 21 for the 1980s Anfal campaign in which an estimated 100,000 Kurds were killed in northern Iraq.
Charges in the case were announced in April and involve Saddam's alleged role in Operation Anfal, Arabic for "spoils of war," which was launched to crush independence-minded Kurdish militias and clear the Kurdish population sensitive Iranian border area. Saddam had accused Kurdish militias of ties to Iran.
Thousands of Kurdish villages were razed and their inhabitants either killed or displaced.
A memo released by the tribunal in April said the Anfal campaign included "savage military attacks on civilians," including "the use of mustard gas and nerve agents ... to kill and maim rural villagers and to drive them out of their homes."
Others accused in the Anfal case include Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan Majid, or "Chemical Ali;" former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad; former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri; former Republican Guard commander Hussein al-Tikriti; former Nineveh provincial Gov. Taher Tafwiq al-Ani; and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.
Saddam and seven other co-defendants have been on trial since Oct. 19 for the deaths of Shiite Muslims following a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail.
That trial is in recess until next month when the defense will present closing arguments and the judges will start deliberations.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said the Anfal and Dujail cases would proceed in tandem if the Dujail case judges have not reached a verdict by Aug. 21.
"Yet, I think that case will be closed by then," he said.
None of Saddam's co-defendants in the Dujail case is included in the latest charges.
Iraqi authorities chose to try Saddam separately for various alleged crimes rather than lump all the cases together. Saddam
and others charged in the Dujail case could be hanged if found guilty in the Dujail case. But President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said he doubted any sentence would be carried out until all trials were complete -- a process likely to take years.