Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was told he faces seven preliminary charges when he appeared in court in Baghdad on 1 July 2004. Reporters at the court said more precise charges will follow later.
The preliminary charges relate to the following:
Anfal 'ethnic cleansing' campaign against Kurds, 1988
Between February and September 1988 Saddam Hussein ordered a massive displacement operation, known as the Anfal (Arabic for "spoils") campaign, against the Kurdish population in northern Iraq.
The operation was orchestrated by Saddam Hussein's cousin, General Ali Hassan al-Majid.
Halabja was attacked with chemical bombs
Hundreds of villages were depopulated and razed to the ground. Chemical weapons were also used.
Eyewitness accounts, documents seized from Iraqi security organs during the post-1991 Gulf War uprising and information gathered by international human rights groups indicate that up to 182,000 people were killed.
Gassing Kurds in Halabja in 1988
In August 1988, during the Anfal campaign, Iraqi forces attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja with bombs containing a mixture of mustard and nerve gases.
An estimated 5,000 civilians, including women, children and babies, were killed in a single day.
Gen Majid ordered the attack, earning the notorious epithet Chemical Ali.
Invasion of Kuwait, 1990
In August 1990 Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi troops into Kuwait, which led to the Gulf War in January 1991.
Iraqi soldiers are alleged to have tortured and summarily executed prisoners and to have looted Kuwait City and taken hundreds of Kuwaiti captives back to Baghdad.
Iraqi soldiers also set light to more than 700 oil wells and opened pipelines to let oil pour into the Gulf and other water sources.
Crushing the Kurdish and Shia rebellions after the 1991 Gulf War
After the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein took revenge on the northern Kurds and Shia Muslims in southern Iraq, who rose up against the regime.
The Iraqi army suppressed the uprisings using massive military force and drained the southern marsh lands which had sustained a way of life dating back around 5,000 years.
Their habitat destroyed, many of the indigenous Arabs fled to surrounding countries.
Killing political activists over 30 years
Evidence has emerged of 270 mass graves across Iraq which are believed to hold the remains of possibly tens of thousands of people.
The UN Commission on Human Rights condemned the Iraqi regime in 2001 for "widespread, systematic torture and the maintaining of decrees prescribing cruel and inhuman punishment as a penalty for offences".
Thousands of Shia Muslims arrested on charges of supporting the 1979 Iranian Revolution have never been accounted for.
Massacre of members of the Kurdish Barzani tribe in 1983
In July 1983, Iraqi security forces arrested about 8,000 male members of the Barzani clan in the northern province of Arbil. They were transported to southern Iraq and have not been heard of since.
Killing of religious leaders in 1974
In July 1974, the Iraqi regime arrested dozens of Shia religious leaders, and executed five of them.