Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq: "This sentence is not a sentence on one man, but a sentence  against all the dark period of his rule.

"The execution of Saddam and his aides does not compare with one drop of the blood shed by Sayyid Sadr, Hakim [Shia leaders executed by Saddam] or any of the martyrs.

"This ruler has committed the most horrible crimes. He executed the best scientists, academics and thinkers."

George Bush, the US president:  "Saddam Hussein's trial is a milestone in the Iraqi people's effort to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.    

"It is a major achievement for Iraq's young democracy and its constitutional government."

Bushra al-Khalil, Saddam Hussein's defence lawyer:  "This is a mockery of justice and a judgement that comes from a sham and illegal court created by the US occupation that cannot ever provide a fair trial."

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq: "The judges, prosecutors and defence attorneys in this case all showed courage in the face of intimidation.

"Their determination to pursue justice is a signal that the rule of law will prevail in Iraq despite the difficult situation that the country now faces.

"Although the Iraqis may face difficult days in the coming weeks, closing the book on Saddam and his regime is an opportunity to unite and build a better future."

Margaret Beckett, Britain's foreign minister: "I welcome that Saddam Hussein and the other defendants have faced justice and have been held to account for their crimes.

"Appalling crimes were committed by Saddam Hussein's regime. It is right that those accused of such crimes against the Iraqi people should face Iraqi justice."

Mohammed Mehdi Akef, leader of Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement: "There is no doubt Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a despot who  harmed Iraq and generated the disastrous situation in which his  country is now engulfed.

"But what are all these crimes that Saddam committed during his  lifetime if you compare them to the crimes of the occupiers and  those who help them? Nothing.

"Our dictators simply don't learn any lessons. They do not fear God and they will therefore not be intimidated by a verdict."

Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq: "I think the trial was fair.

"Those people [the defendents] had the full right to say what they intended.

"I must respect the independence of the Iraqi judiciary. Until the end I must be silent ... because my comments could affect the situation."

Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's middle east and north africa director: "Throughout Saddam's rule, we reported on massive abuses in his country. We felt it was important that he and others be held accountable.

"But even he deserves a fair trial, and the proceeding in Baghdad failed to meet the necessary fail trial standards."

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman: "The Islamic Republic of Iran, remembering the inhuman crimes of Saddam and his allies against the Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti nations, and the necessity of preserving the rights of these nations, welcomes the verdict."