The defendents are charged in connection with the killing of more than 140 Shia men in the town of Dujail after an assassination attempt against Saddam failed.
The men on trial include two members of the former president's inner circule and five lesser officials:
- Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti
Born in 1937. A leading member of the Baath Party, he played a key role in the 1968 coup which brought them to power and served as vice president to his cousin, General Ahmed Bakr.
He formally took over the presidency in 1979, ruling with absolute authority and what his opponents describe as brutal force and repression.
Altough he was supported by the US during the eight year-long war with Iran during the 1980s, Saddam became an enemy after invading Kuwait in 1990.
Once US-led forces had expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait, Iraq was placed under international sanctions.
After US and British forces invaded in March 2003, Saddam went on the run. He was captured near Tikrit on 13 December 2003.
Born 1938. Vice-president from March 1991 until 2003, Ramadan met Saddam after joining the Baath Party in the mid-1950s and rose to become a member of the president's inner circle.
He held several senior positions, including industry minister in the 1970s.
Taha Yassin Ramadan was
vice-president of Iraq
He was once reported to have said: "I don't know anything about industry. All I know is that anyone who doesn't work hard will be executed."
Iraqi exiles accused him and other officials of brutally stamping out a Shia Muslim uprising in the south in 1991 and killing thousands of Kurds in the north in 1988.
Number 20 on the US military's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis when they invaded, Ramadan was captured in August 2003 in the northern city of Mosul by Kurdish fighters.
- Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti
One of Saddam's three younger half-brothers and former head of the feared Mukhabarat intelligence service and adviser to Saddam.
Al-Tikriti led the Mukhabarat
Number 38 on the most-wanted list, Barzan was captured in April 2003.
As head of the intelligence service, he was accused of ordering mass murders and tortures and of taking part in human rights abuses, including the destruction of villages.
US officials described Barzan as a member of what they called Saddam's "dirty dozen".
- Awad Hamed al-Bander al-Saadun
Former chief judge in Saddam's Revolutionary Court, which is accused of organising show trials that often led to summary death sentences.
Al-Bander was chief judge in
Saddam's Revolutionary Court
Al-Bander was the judge in charge of trying many of more than 140 Shia men accused of trying to assassinate Saddam as his motorcade drove through the village of Dujail in July 1982.
Some were killed in fighting. Al-Bander sentenced many others to be executed.
- Abdullah Kadhem Ruaid
- Ali Daeem Ali
- Mohammed Azawi Ali
- Mizher Abdullah Rawed
All local Baath Party officials in the Dujail area.