Frans van Anraat
|Criminal status||In prison|
|Criminal charge||War crimes|
|Penalty||17 years imprisonment|
Frans Cornelis Adrianus van Anraat (born 9 August 1942 in Den Helder) is a Dutch war criminal and a 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's government. He was given a 15-year sentence. In 2007, the appeal court sentenced Van Anraat to 17 years in prison.
In 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. Starting in 1984, he supplied thousands of tons of chemicals to Iraq including the essential raw materials for producing mustard gas and nerve gas. Both gases were used during the Iran–Iraq War, between 1980 and 1988, as well as during the Halabja poison gas attack the military carried out on Iraqi Kurds, in 1988, which killed about 5,000 people. The attack was part of the Al-Anfal campaign of the Iraqi regime against Kurds in the north of the country.
After Van Anraats arrest upon the request of the USA in Italy in 1989, his offices in Switzerland and Italy were searched and documents were confiscated. He was released pending trial and Van Anraat fled to Iraq, where he lived for the next 14 years, was granted the Iraqi nationality and given an Arabic name. When Hussein's regime fell in 2003, Van Anraat returned to the Netherlands. He was arrested on 6 December 2004 for complicity in war crimes and genocide. On 23 December 2005, he was sentenced to 15 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 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 and Van Anraat appealed against the verdict. In May 2007, the appeal court sentenced Van Anraat to 17 years in prison. The charge for complicity in multiple war crimes explains the extra two years, but he was not found guilty for complicity in genocide. In June 2007 the Dutch Supreme Court confirmed the sentence but reduced the imprisonment to 16 years and 6 months.
Shortly after the arrest of Van Anraat, several Dutch newspapers reported that Van Anraat had been an informant for 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.