The Iraq tribunal announced new criminal charges against former president Saddam Hussein and six others Tuesday, accusing them of "genocide and crimes against humanity" stemming from a 1980s crackdown against Kurds that included the gassing of thousands of civilians.
This latest move paves the way for a second trial of the ousted leader. Under Iraqi law, the second trial could begin in at least 45 days, the AP reported.
Investigative judge Raid Juhi said the charges against Saddam and the others had been filed with another judge, who will review the evidence and order a trial date.
The new case involves Saddam's role in Operation Anfal, a move against Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s. Anfal included the March 16 gas attack on the village of Halabja in which 5,000 people, including women and children, died.
"These people were subjected to forced displacement and illegal detentions of thousands of civilians," Juhi said. "They were placed in different detentions centers. The villages were destroyed and burned. Homes and houses of worshippers and buildings of civilians were leveled without reason or a military requirement."
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-Tirkiti; former Nineveh provincial Gov. Taher Tafwiq al-Ani; and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.
"Chemical Ali" was heard in an April 21, 1988, audio clip ordering that people caught in Kurdish areas "have to be destroyed ... must have their heads shot off." In another radio fragment, he said: "I will attack them with chemical weapons and kill them all."