Iraqi high tribunal to issue verdict for Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid

The Iraqi high tribunal will issue a verdict in two weeks in the trial of Saddam Hussein's cousin known as "Chemical Ali" .

The decision will be announced on June 24, prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi told The Associated Press after a short court session that he said was attended by the five defendants, including Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid.

He and the other defendants face charges that include crimes against humanity for their roles in the 1980s military campaign code-named Operation Anfal. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death by hanging.

Al-Majid denied he was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against Kurds in the late 1980s attacks that earned him the nickname "Chemical Ali" in a statement on May 10 as the defense wrapped up closing arguments.

The prosecution says 180,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the operation. The defendants have claimed they were acting on orders and the campaign was aimed at Kurdish rebels supporting Iran during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Other defendants include defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai; Sabir al-Douri, former director of military intelligence; Hussein Rashid Mohammed, former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi Armed Forces; and Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, former head of military intelligence's eastern regional office.

Saddam was a defendant in the case but was hanged last year after his conviction for the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims in Dujail after a 1982 attempt on his life.