Saddam’s supplier

The week's news at a glance.

The Hague, Netherlands

A Dutch businessman who sold chemicals to Saddam Hussein went on trial for genocide this week at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Frans van Anraat, 63, is accused of selling chemical agents to Iraq knowing that Saddam would use them to make illegal poison gases and kill thousands of people. The U.S. requested van Anraat’s arrest back in 1989, after finding that he had sold Saddam thiodiglycol, an industrial chemical that can be used to make mustard gas. He was briefly detained that year in Italy but fled to Iraq, where U.S. forces caught him in 2003. Van Anraat says he can’t be held responsible for the chemicals’ end use. “How many products such as bullets do we make in the Netherlands?” he said in a 2003 interview with the Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu.

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