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After World War I, as more fully explained in the Library of Congress Country Study series, Iraq ceased to be a part of the Ottoman Empire and came under a British Mandate.  While under the British Mandate, it established a constitutional monarchy pursuant to its 1924 Constitution.  In 1932, the British Mandate ended, Iraq gained independence, and it was admitted to the League of Nations.

On July 14, 1958, a military coup overthrew the monarchy and declared Iraq a republic.  The ensuing power struggle between various factions internal and external to the military ended with the Baath party seizing power on July 17, 1968, and General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becoming president and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.  During this period, a junior Baath party operative, Saddam Hussein, emerged as a powerful political official.  In July 1979, al-Bakr resigned and Saddam Hussein became the new president and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.  Saddam Hussein remained in power until the collapse of his regime in March and April 2003, when a coalition led by the United States occupied Iraq.

On May 22, 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1483.  This resolution recognizes in accordance with applicable international law, the authority, responsibilities, and obligations of the United States and the United Kingdom as occupying powers under a unified command.  It also calls upon the states of the United Nations to support actions that facilitate the prosecution of the members of Saddam Hussein's former regime who are responsible for crimes and atrocities against the people of Iraq.

On December 13, 2003, American forces in Iraq captured Saddam Hussein and accorded him the status of prisoner of war.

Legal custody of Saddam Hussein passed (external link) to the Iraqi interim government on June 30, 2004, but physical custody remained in American military hands.  On July 1, 2004, Saddam Hussein was arraigned (external link) before an Iraqi judge on seven preliminary charges.

On July 17, 2005, formal charges were filed against Saddam Hussein and other co-defendants in connection with government atrocities committed in the al-Dujail region against the people of al-Dujail.

These charges are the subject of the present trial, which began on October 19, 2005, and is continuing before the criminal chamber of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal.

Last Updated: 07/03/2007