Frans van Anraat
|Frans van Anraat|
August 9, 1942 |
Den Helder, Netherlands
|Criminal charge||War crimes|
|Criminal penalty||15 years imprisonment|
|Criminal status||In prison|
Frans Cornelis Adrianus van Anraat (born August 9, 1942 in Den Helder) is a Dutch businessman. He sold raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein. In December 2005 a court in The Hague convicted him of complicity in war crimes for his role in selling chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein's government and given a 15-year sentence. In 2007 the appeal court sentenced Van Anraat to seventeen years in prison.
Business in Iraq
During the 1970s Van Anraat worked at engineering companies in Italy, Switzerland and Singapore that were building chemical plants in Iraq. Having learned about the trade in chemicals, he founded his own company, "FCA Contractor", based in Bissone, Switzerland. From 1984 he supplied thousands of tons of chemicals to Iraq. Among these chemicals were the essential raw materials for producing mustard gas and nerve gas. Both gases were used during the Iran-Iraq war between 1980-1988 as well as during the Halabja poison gas attack the military carried out on Iraqi Kurds in 1988, in which some 5,000 people were killed. This attack was part of the Al-Anfal campaign of the Iraqi regime against Kurds in the north of the country.
Arrest and trial
After his arrest and release in Italy in 1989, Van Anraat fled to Iraq, where he lived for the next 14 years. When Saddam's regime fell in 2003, Van Anraat returned to the Netherlands. He was arrested on December 6, 2004 for complicity in war crimes and genocide. On December 23, 2005, he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for complicity in war crimes, but the court decided the charges of complicity in genocide could not be substantiated.
The court also ruled that the killing of thousands of Kurds in Iraq in the 1980s was indeed an act of genocide. In the 1948 Geneva Convention, the definition of genocide is "acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". The Dutch court said that it was considered "legally and convincingly proven that the Kurdish population meets the requirement under the Genocide Conventions as an ethnic group. The court has no other conclusion than that these attacks were committed with the intent to destroy the Kurdish population of Iraq."
Both the public prosecutor as well as Van Anraat appealed the verdict. In May 2007, the appeal court sentenced Van Anraat to seventeen years in prison, this time for complicity in multiple war crimes which explains the two extra years, but not for complicity in genocide.
Relation with Dutch secret service
Shortly after the arrest of Van Anraat, several Dutch newspapers reported that Van Anraat had been an informant of the Dutch secret service, the AIVD. According to the Dutch press, Van Anraat received protection from the AIVD and was placed in a safehouse of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in Amsterdam.
- Killing of Iraq Kurds 'genocide' BBC News, 23 December 2005
- "Van Anraat, most wanted by the FBI" (in Dutch). NOS. 2005-06-23. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- "Dutchman in Iraq genocide charges". BBC. 2005-03-18.
- "Saddam's 'Dutch link'". BBC. 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- "Hof veroordeelt Van Anraat tot zeventien jaar cel" (in Dutch). Nu.nl. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- "Van Anraat was informant AIVD" (in Dutch). 2004-12-20. Retrieved 2007-05-09. Archived November 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- "VAN ANRAAT ZAT IN SAFEHOUSE AIVD" (in Dutch). Nova. 2004-12-20. Retrieved 2007-05-09.