What Saddam Hussein did was murder 180,000 of his own citizens. Here are some excerpts of witness testimony:
It was dark when they brought a group of people (prisoners) in front of the vehicle. The drivers got out of our vehicles and turned on the headlights," he said.
Some prisoners tried to grab an automatic rifle from a guard, but failed because "we were so weak," he said.
Soldiers then opened fire. "I ran and fell into a ditch. It was full of bodies. I fell on a body. It was still alive. It was his last breath," said the witness. "It was really unbelievable, the number of people being killed like this."
Slightly wounded, he stripped off his clothes, thinking he was more likely to blend into the color of the sand if he were naked, the witness said. He then began running again.
"As I was running, I saw many pits, I saw many mounds, and I saw lots of people who had been shot," he said. "The desert was full of mounds that had people buried underneath."
The witness said he took refuge with Kurds living nearby, then traveled north. For the next 15 years he lived in hiding, moving frequently, until Saddam's ouster.
A Kurdish witness — Mutalib Mohammed Salman, 78 — told the court that his wife and 32 relatives disappeared in 1988 after troops overran his village in northern Iraq.
Salman said his wife's body and the remains of two other relatives were found in a mass grave after Saddam's regime was toppled in 2003.