On 24 April 2013, the district court of The Hague sentenced Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat to payment of damages to the victims of mustard-gas attacks in Iraq and Iran in the 1980s.

The district court declared Iranian and Iraqi law applicable to the claims. It found one of the claims filed by an Iraqi plaintiff to inadmissible due to prescription. The court granted the sixteen other claims, and awarded the plaintiffs Euro 25.000,00 each for immaterial damages suffered.

During the Saddam Hussein-regime, Van Anraat supplied the Iraqi military industry with large quantities of thiodiglycol (‘TDG’). The Iraqi regime then used that material to produce mustard gas, which was subsequently processed in bombs. The Iraqi regime then used those bombs against civilians in the mid-eighties. The civilians suffered serious, lasting damage (to their health) as a result. The seventeen plaintiffs in this case were victims of these chemical attacks.

The criminal involvement of Van Anraat with these war crimes was confirmed in a final judgment by a three-judge chamber of the Appeals Court of The Hague. However, the chamber referred the claims filed by the victims as ‘injured party’ to the civil court. For that reason, plaintiffs subpoenaed Van Anraat in a civil suit on 14 December 2009, respectively 7 July 2010. Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld represented the victims in both the criminal case and the civil procedure.

Read the verdict in Dutch here.


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