Ali Hassan al-Majid al-Tikriti is a former Ba''ath Party leader, Iraqi Defense Minister, and military commander. A first cousin of former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, he became notorious in the 1980s and 1990s for his role in the Iraqi government''s campaigns of deportations and mass killings against its Kurdish and Shi''ite populations. With Kurdish resistance in the north of Iraq continuing to escalate, al-Majid decided to break the back of the rebellion by eradicating the civilian population of the Kurdish regions. In what became known as the al-Anfal campaign, his forces embarked on a systematic campaign of mass killings, property destruction and forced population transfer in which thousands of Kurdish villages were razed and their inhabitants either killed or deported to the south of Iraq. For his ruthless use of prohibited chemical weapons in these attacks against the Kurds, he was dubbed "Chemical Ali" and the "Butcher of Kurdistan". Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and U.K., he was captured and charged with war crimes. His trial began on August 2006 in acrimonious circumstances when al-Majid refused to enter any plea. He consequently had a "not guilty" plea entered on his behalf by the court. Al-Majid was unapologetic about his actions, telling the court that he had ordered the destruction of Kurdish villages on the grounds that they were "full of Iranian agents". He was convicted in June 2007, received five death sentences for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He was sentenced to death for the crimes committed in the al-Anfal campaign of the 1980s.