BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The bodies of 41 Kuwaitis believed killed during the 1991 Persian Gulf war have been unearthed in southern Iraq, one of 295 mass graves containing thousands of Saddam Hussein's victims uncovered in the two years since US-led forces invaded and ousted the dictator, Iraq's Human Rights Minister said yesterday.
In a telephone interview, Bakhtiar Amin said he informed the Kuwaiti government of the discovery three days ago. The bodies were found in a mass grave in the city of Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad.
The discovery was another step in documenting what happened to 605 Kuwaitis who have been missing since the 1991 war.
The bodies of only 190 other Kuwaitis have been identified.
The difficult security situation in Iraq is hampering the work of investigators as authorities find or are alerted to the discovery of mass graves, which will provide evidence in war crimes cases the Iraqi Special Tribunal is building against Hussein and his top ministers, Amin said.
Cases already have been brought to court against Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti, one of Hussein's half brothers, former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan and Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as ''Chemical Ali" for his part in chemical weapons gassing of Kurds in the north of the country.
''The list of crimes that these people committed is long, and the trials will start as soon as possible," Amin said, adding that a start date was still not known.