Iraqi judges start to interrogate top aides of Saddam
Iraqi judges on Saturday commenced interrogating Iraq's former defense minister and the general known as "Chemical Ali," launching the first stage in the trial process for prominent figures of the ousted Baath regime.
Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Saddam's last defense minister, and Ali Hassan al-Majid, accused of using poisonous chemical gas against thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, were the first to appear from among 11 Saddam deputies. The tribunal has said the investigative hearings are the first step of the trial process for Saddam Hussein and his defendants and will be run by investigative judges.
Ahmad surrendered to U.S. forces in September 2003 at a military base in Mosul, but was not considered to be a war crimes suspect.